Definitions for voltaic effect

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The Standard Electrical Dictionary

  1. Voltaic Effect

    The potential difference developed by contact of different conductors. It is the basis of the contact theory, q. v., of electricity, although it may be accepted as the expression for a condition of things by those who reject the above theory. This potential difference is slight when the conductors are separated, but it is calculated that it would be enormous could the metals be so quickly separated as to hold each its own charge. Thus if a copper and a zinc plate are assumed to be in contact, really 1/20000000 centimeter or 1/50000000 inch apart, they may be treated as a pair of condenser plates. Being so near, their density of charge, which is a strongly bound charge, is enormous. If it were possible to separate them without permitting any discharge, their potential would rise by the separation, on the principle of Epinus' condenser, q. v., to such an extent that they would spark through twenty feet of air. (See Volta's Fundamental Experiment.)

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