This may be very silly, but I need to understand this to get my concepts right.

Consider the fact that the electric field b/w the Earth's surface and the ionosphere is on an average $100$ V/m, then if we were to keep the terminals of a bulb around $1$-$2$ m apart (vertically) in the atmosphere, will the bulb glow? Why, or why not?


It is possible to use the field to generate work; however, in most cases this is not viable. This is because almost everything you observe around you is macroscopically neutral.

I suppose a simpler way to store and generate energy would be to use the gravitational field - such as one of these.

As for the example you mentioned - the voltage across the two end terminals is indeed sufficient, but you lack a source of electrons. A battery does not only provide voltage, but it also provides a source and a sink of electrons.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for such a prompt response :) Now I get it. The question mainly came from the fact that the potential difference build-up is usually counteracted by the discharging lightning bolts. But then instead of letting the layers discharge via lightning, if we kept ~ lightning rods at either layers and the load in the middle, wouldn't we be able to use the huge current surge ? $\endgroup$ Sep 8 '19 at 16:14

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