Cathode rays consist of negatively charged particles called electrons. These electrons move away from cathode with very high speeds. These fast moving electrons collide with the molecules of the gas in the tube, split the molecule into atoms, and remove one or more electrons from the atoms. Thus, the atoms get converted into the positive ions due to loss of electrons. These positive ions get attracted by the negative electrode, and pass through the holes in the electrode plate to produce a glow only the glass wall of the discharge tube. A stream of these positively charged particles is called a positive ray (or anode ray).
Properties of positive rays
1. Positive rays consist of positively charged particles.
2. The nature of these rays depends on the gas used in the discharge tube.
3. These rays travel in straight lines.
4. These rays get deflected by an electrical field, and bend towards the negative plate. Thus the deflection of the positive rays is in a direction opposite to that shown by the cathode rays.
5. These rays are also deflected by the magnetic fields in the direction opposite to that of the cathode rays.
6. These rays can produce mechanical as well as chemical effects.
7. The ratio of charge (e) to mass (m), i.e.,(e/m) for the particles in the positive rays is not the same for all gases.
8. The ratio e / m for the positive rays is very low as compared to the e / m value for cathode rays.