|MadSci Network: Engineering|
Dear Sylvia: When the spark from the generator goes off the spark is made up of ions, free electrons, and many molecules comprising constituents of the air. Let us assume before the spark we have plain air in the chamber; this would mean oxygen molecules, nitrogen molecules, water vapor, carbon dioxide, and all the gases that are present in normal air. You can look up "Air" in the encyclopedia to find out what all the components might be. When there is a spark, it means that the electric field in the air has become so high that free electrons and ions in the air (they are always there in tiny amounts because of cosmic ray bonbardment from outer space) gather very high energy from the electric field and their energy is great enough for them to break up molecules. So in the spark there can be free nitrogen atoms, oxygen atoms, ozone molecules (O3), hydrogen atoms from the water in the air, NH3(ammonia) molecules which come from the reactions of the nitrogen and the hydrogen from the water, some methane (CH4) from the water and CO2 molesules which are broken up, and many other molecules depending upon how clean the air was before the spark. I hope this answer will satisfy your curiosity. No elements are created, but from the breakdown of molecules free unreacted elements may be present, but only if they were there in the air before!
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