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Negative ions in the natural environment
Q.01 - How are negative ions created in the natural environment?
Negative ions are generally created by:
(1) Photoelectric effect by solar rays
Q.02 - Why do many negative ions exist around the basin of a waterfall?
Water droplets are generated when water splashes down onto the water surface and rocks. A water droplet forms a two-layer structure whose inner/outer surface is charged negatively/positively when it is smashed.
Thus, the outer surface of newly created droplets are charged positively and the air, which touches them, is charged negatively. This is how negative ions are created by splashing water.
This theory referred to as the Leonard effect was reported by German physicist Dr. Phillip Leonard. For more information, you can refer to "The Leonard effect" (Japanese only).
Q.03 - Why do many negative ions exist in a public bath or shower room?
The Lenard's effect caused by water from the shower stimulates negative ion generation.
More negative ions exist around a waterfall because:
1. Water is splashed more violently.* An air ion has some tiny water droplets around its body which are floating in the air. The number of the droplets decreases when humidity rises as they combine together.
Q.04 - Is there a time frame when a lot of negative ions are generated in the natural environment?
It is said that negative ions are actively generated at around 6-10AM as the air is cleaner during this hours. However, it depends on weather and other ambient conditions.
Q.05 - How do negative ions remove harmful substances and offensive odors?
Most of harmful substances such as formaldehyde and volatile compounds which cause offensive odors are positively charged. Negative ions combine with them and fall onto the floor/ground to remove them from the air.
Q.06 - Why do many negative ions exist in woods?
It is believed that negative ions are generated when trees absorb water through their roots and release it into the air from the pores on their leaves. Soil in woods also helps the negative ion generation as it is usually wet.
Q.07 - How do negative ions remove cigarette smoke?
Negative ions neutralize positive ions which are ingredients of cigarette smoke.
Q.08 - What is the Lenard effect?
Q.09 - I feel cool when I stand near a waterfall. Is this due to the lower temperature instead of a negative ion effect?
It is not just due to the temperature. You may or may not feel refreshed when you stand near a waterfall because it depends on the person. However, clinical tests show that many patients, who have negative ion therapy, feel refreshed. Plenty of negative ions can actually be detected around a waterfall. Not all, but most of those who try negative ion therapy feel refreshed.
Q.10 - What is the average density of positive ions contained in cigarette smoke?
Cigarette smoke contains highly concentrated positive ions ranging about 2,000-30,000 (pcs/cc). These positive ions neutralize negative ions in the air and the negative ion count decreases, which can cause symptoms such as headache. Negative ions vanish due to human presence. It is reported that the amount of negative ions neutralized by one smoking person is equal to that of 100 non-smoking people.
Q.11 - Do you have negative and positive ion count data measured at actual locations?
Here are some ion counts we actually measured. Please note that ion counts are just for your reference because they change every second.
Q.12 - Many negative ions can be found in woods/waterfalls where humidity is high. Does this imply that many negative ions exist when raining?
Negative ion generation depends on humidity and the negative ion count decreases when it is raining. Negative ions combine with clusters of tiny water droplets to exist in the air.
Thus, the number of negative ions increases as the number of clusters increases. The number of tiny water droplets decreases when humidity is high such as a rainy day because they combine with each other.
Q.13 - Can negative ions be generated in solutions other than water due to the Leonard effect?
Solutions other than water do not always generate negative ions. e.g. Salt water generates positive ions when it is sprayed.
Q.14 - Please show me what the Leonard effect is by using some illustrations.
A water droplet forms an electric double layer * as shown on the left image.The inner/outer surface is charged negatively/positively, respectively. When it splits into some droplets, the newly created surface obtains positive electricity from air molecules in order to become positively charged, thus the air molecules are negatively charged. This is how the air is negatively ionized.
* What is an an electric double layer?
When two different phases such as a solid and a liquid come into contact each other, positive and negative charges appear on the boundary surface with a distance of the molecular level.
Q.15 - What is Radon?
Radon is a gas that exists naturally in the air. It is produced during the decaying process of radium, which is radioactive. It releases radiation rays when it decays and the air is intensely ionized.
Q.16 - Is the ratio of positive and negative ions 1:1.2 ideal for the human body?
It is said this theory was reported in the US in the early 20th century when air pollution was not so serious. However, we are not sure if it has been scientifically proven.
Q.17 - What are the main causes of positive ion generation?
Positive ions found in living space are generated by:
1. Car exhaust
Q.18 - Why can many positive ions be observed in seaside areas?
According to Lenard's paper, the air tends to be charged positively by splashed salt water in contrast to fresh water. This is why many positive ions can be observed in seaside areas.
Q.19 - Does a negative ion generator remove formaldehyde from a rooms air?
Some reports say that formaldehyde are reduced but we do not know how negative ions work on it. Some companies manufacture negative ion generators which remove formaldehyde.
Q.20 - Please explain briefly about the Leonard effect.
The surrounding air is charged negatively when water droplets collide with each other or with a wetted solid. For more information, you can refer to "The Leonard effect" (Japanese only).
Q.21 - Why does static electricity increase in dry air?
When humidity is high, electricity is released through water contained in the air. On the contrary, when humidity is low and there is little moisture in the air, electricity is more likely to stay where it was created to become static electricity. This is why static electricity increases in dry air.
Q.22 - Can negative ions neutralize static electricity?
Theoretically, negative ions can cancel out static electricity if they posses the same amount of electronic charge as negative ions and static electricity are charged negatively and positively, respectively in living space. Technically, it is not easy to completely neutralize and eliminate static electricity charged on the human body. This principle is utilized in the semiconductor industry for ESD (Electro-Static Discharge) protection where sensitive devices can be destroyed by static electricity.
Q.23 - Can negative ions be generated in the sea? Is it possible to measure the ions?
Dissociated negative ions are included in the solution. However, "Negative ions for health" refer to air ions which are different from those found in solutions, so negative ion effects on the human body produced by air ions are not always applicable to those in solutions.
[Please note] This does not mean ions in solutions have no positive effect.
Q.24 - Will negative ions remove soot and CO2 and whatever else the factories and exhaust pipes spew into our air?
It is said negative ions purify polluted air. For your reference, CO2 contributes to negative ion generation.
Q.25 - How will negative ions affect my house plants?
Negative ions can stimulate growth and extend life spans of plants.
Q.26 - Do negative ions have any effects on computers/electronic devices?
We have no idea if negative ions have an effect on computers. We have received a report that an audio system produces clearer sound in a negative ion environment.
Q.27 - Do my house flooring become dirty after negative ions absorb dust and fall down to purify the air?
The particles are so small and negligible. You only need to clean your house as you normally do.
Q.28 - Do plants generate negative ions?
Plants generate very few negative ions at most. If there are massive plants, it is possible that you can enjoy negative ions in the area.
The potted plant Sansevieria trifasciata commonly called "Snake plant" has been featured on a TV program as it generates some negative ions but it will not be able to fill a room with the negative ions.
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Universal Plan Co., Ltd.
107 Tachikawa-Lumiere, 3-5-1, Ichiban-cho, Tachikawa-city,
Tokyo, 190-0033, Japan
Phone: +81-42-848-5311 Fax: +81-42-848-5148
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