# Examples of circuitry using proton currents

Proton cuircuits and proton motive force are part of standard discussion in biology and processes involving photosynthesis. The sort of proton currents discussed in biology are obviously slightly different than the magnetically confined proton currents in an acclerator like LHC, however, although we are very familar with electronic circuitry, I was wondering if there are example of protonic circuitry outside of biological processess.

-
I am confused since I have been an amateur in the study of electronics for most of my life and have always been taught that protons and neutrons are with in an atom and only electrons could flow. Also i was taught that protons do not exist alone unless the atom was split which would start a nuclear reaction. this is new to me where can i learn more about the existence of protons naturally occurring alone and how a circuit would conduct protons –  Chris Sep 21 '11 at 4:43
This is a question, really. Ions can flow too, in liquid and gases ( thunderstorms), as the answer above says. Pure proton currents exist in accelerators, where hydrogen is stripped from its electron and the protons are accelerated into circular paths lbl.gov/abc/wallchart/teachersguide/pdf/Chap11.pdf. –  anna v Sep 21 '11 at 7:01
@Chris This is a Q&A not a forum. Please don't use it this way. –  mbq Sep 21 '11 at 7:42
""Also i was taught that protons do not exist alone unless the atom was split which would start a nuclear reaction"" Ever heard about the core of hydrogen atoms? –  Georg Sep 21 '11 at 11:31

Current in any acid electrolyte (eg a lead accumulator) is carried predominantely by hydronium ions (real protons do not exist in water). Due to the about tenfold mobility of hydronium ions compared to all other cations, in acid solution charge transport is almost by hydronium alone.

Georg

-
+1 Yeah, it is just that biologists call H$^{+}$ ions "protons". –  mbq Jan 25 '11 at 8:57
Chemists do that too, it is lab-slang, for the sake of brevity. But here in some "educational" place it should not be used. –  Georg Jan 25 '11 at 12:24
Maybe I'm just being more than usually thickheaded, but are you really objecting to calling ${\rm H}^+$ ions "protons"? That's precisely what they are! –  Ted Bunn Jan 25 '11 at 15:16
First error is H+ ! Those ions formula is H3O+, secondly their name is hydronium! A naked proton is much too electrophilic to stay "free" in water. Or more precisely, the binding to that hydronium is basic reason for the existence of aqueous acids. Without it, no such thing would exist in chemistry. Again we are at hydrogen bonds and water structure :=( –  Georg Jan 25 '11 at 15:32
Thanks for the explanation. Of course I certainly agree that ${\rm H_3O^+}$ is different from a proton! I was confused by @mbq's comment and @Georg's reply that seemed to say that we shouldn't call an ${\rm H^+}$ a proton. If the objection is that the objects in question aren't ${\rm H}^+$s (rather than that ${\rm H}^+$s aren't protons), I understand. –  Ted Bunn Jan 25 '11 at 16:44