A new study could lead the way for developing devices that can create power from the atmosphere.

In what could be a breakthrough experiment paving the way for capturing electricity out of thin air one day, a team of Brazilian scientists have shown that water droplets in the atmosphere pick up a charge and do not remain neutral, as was earlier believed.

Popsci reports on the experiment:

Using small particles of aluminum phosphate and silica — two particles found commonly in the atmosphere — they showed that in the presence of water vapor silica particles become more negatively charged. Aluminum phosphate grows slightly more positively charged. This building of charges in humid air can accumulate and be transferred to other objects, explaining phenomena like the charge buildup where steam escapes from boilers that had baffled scientists for centuries.

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