Ice has a large dielectric permittivity arising from the reorientation of molecular dipoles in an electric field. This reorientation occurs by the motion of protonic point defects — H3O+ and OH- ions and Bjerrum L- and D-defects. The permittivity exhibits an almost ideal Debye relaxation and there is also a d.c. conductivity that arises from the migration of protons through the lattice. This chapter first treats the overall process of relaxation, then the theory of the thermodynamic equilibrium permittivity, and after that the interpretation of the dielectric and conduction properties in terms of protonic point defects according to the Jaccard theory. It then considers the effect of electrodes, and the various times constants involved. It concludes with a summary of the essential equations describing the electrical properties of ice.
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