Do electrons experience air resistance?


Intuition says no, because they’re subatomic and would there for not be impeded by air molecules. But it seems like they could potentially collide with air molecules which would stop their motion, there for being resistance given by air; air resistance.

In: 1

They won’t make it very far in a gas, they’re massively electrically charged for their miniscule mass and will deflect away or blow up the first molecule they stumble across.

So sort of?

Air resistance is a bulk phenomenon that doesn’t really apply to individual particles.

You could indeed call the resistance that the electrons have when going through air for air resistance although it does not quite behave the same way. It is more electrical resistance then air resistance.

Well, electrons that are in atomic orbitals do experience “air resistance” because electrons repel each other and the air molecules have electrons in orbitals of their own. In fact, that is what all air resistance (and indeed, all molecule-molecule collisions) is governed by: the repulsion between electron orbitals. They don’t collide, but the orbitals don’t want to touch, which is why you can’t phase through a wall in addition to experiencing air resistance.

But free electrons (like in an electrical current) behave a little differently. They experience “air resistance” in the sense that air is a very bad conductor and doesn’t let electrons flow freely. On the other hand, high enough voltage will ionize the air – ripping electrons off of air molecules to turn it into a good conductor – which we perceive in the form of static electric shocks, current arcs, and lighting.

resistance is an opposition, it is friction. And considering the electron is subatomic, it would have almost no effect. I got a hunch that you already know the answer based on the second sentence.

That’s quantum physics and it’s hard to answer. But as far as classical physics, anything with mass, experinces drag (aka air resistance)