I was experimenting with an oscillator circuit ( which I out dug out from a mosquito zapper) when I saw this "phenomenon".
I had heard that such circuits have enough potential to ionize air and make corona discharges.
Infact, the discharge happens more intensely when there's a metallic object to guide it.
Well, I noted something strange....
There was a little of sitavatak,( a powdered medicine), which I had spilled over the floor, earlier that day. Being a medicine, it had a fair amount of moisture in it, making it preferable for a high voltage current to flow through.
I noticed that the powder particles near the live wire get excited and start to dance and jump around, when it was brought close to them.
This could be due to the ion wind between the wire and the ground( not the subject of discussion here ).
The second thing that caught my attention, was the behaviour of powder particles that were in contact with the live wire.
The moment I switched the wire on, they got attached to the wire. When I lifted the wire, the particles came with it , in a chain.
Why does this happen?
I reasoned that:
Since the ac current prefers the easiest path to reach ground , it does some work to hold up the chain as long as it provides a pathway for the current.
To back my inference,
I did the experiment all over again with the powder kept on a plastic disc, ensuring that the powder has no contact with the ground.
And, there was no chain. Only the dancing.
The powder no longer provided a pathway for the current to reach ground,so the current doesn't HAVE to do work to hold together the chain.
So, am I correct in my inference?
Is there actually such a property for the electric current ?
If not, how would you explain this behavior ?
Here are the links to see the experiment for yourself.
CHAIN FORMATION https://youtu.be/DxC2a7tCuwM
ON PLASTIC DISC https://youtu.be/kYoXkUqqDsY