I have a question about what happens in following experiment: Assume we have a battery with two Galvanic half cell, eg. a magnesium anode and a copper cathode. Since copper has higher electrode potential that magnesium, the electrode with magnesium oxidizes and therefore becomes the negative terminal und the electrode with copper reduces and becomes positive terminal.
I want to find out what happens at the
moment when we connect the earth only to the negative terminal, leaving the positive terminal disconnected? Does there happen a very short electrostatic discharge immediately after connection such that the electrons sitting in the magnesium chunk get absorbed by the earth?
(the earth is here considered as electrostatically neutral uncharged source with constant potential, which can absorb und donate a huge amount of electrons without changing it's potential) See also this image:
Question: What happens at the moment we connect the negative terminal (magnesium) having excess of electrons with earth und leave simultaneously the positive terminal unconnected?
Clearly, since the positive terminal is unconnected, there cannot establish a steady current because there is no closed circuit between positive and negative terminals. Therefore such connection will surely not drain completely the battery, but the question is if it could happen that only the burst of electrons which actually inhabiting the magnesium anode going be absorbed by the earth and then everything stops.
But I'm primary interested in electrostatic effects and want to know if there happens a electrostatic discharge at the contact moment within a very very short moment sending the excess electrons from negative terminal to earth or does there really literally 'nothing' happen?
Why I conjecture that such elecrostatic discharge should happen. At the moment when we connect the earth to the magnesium electrode seemingly the unconnected copper electrode isn't noticed by the system earth-magnesium electrode since we assumed that there is no connection to the copper electrode:
And since the earth is neatrally charged and the magnesium electrode contains a lot of electrons on it, it seems reasonable that all this electrons 'want' to run into the neutral earth at the moment we connect the earth to the magnesium electrode. Does it sound reasonable.
That seems to be quite similar to the question what happens immediately after we connect the positive to negative terminals of two Galvanic half cells but remove the salt bridge:
Again, clearly without salt bridge there can no consistent current happen because the salt bridge closes the circuit as ion conductor.
But nevertheless, at the moment we connect the two terminals/electrods whith a wire, shouldn't the excessed electrons at magnesium electrode not nevertheless flow to copper electode and then stay there to compensate the charge/potential difference? And only then because due to lack of salt bridge everything stops?
Are my reasonings correct or if not what is my error? (I asked the same question in physicsstack