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#72622 - 12/06/06 05:32 AM The path of least resistance
earlydean Offline
Member
Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
My favorite gripe is use of the phrase: "Electricity always takes the path of least resistance". This implies that electricity will not take the longer path.
First gripe: electricity is not intelligent and cannot decide which way to go.
Second gripe: in a parallel path electricity flows through all paths regardless of resistance, and the flow is calculated by ohms law.
Electricity takes every path, not just the "path of least resistance"!!!!!
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Earl
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#72623 - 12/06/06 06:10 AM Re: The path of least resistance
watthead Offline
Member
Registered: 10/13/01
Posts: 182
Loc: South Carolina
Isn't this where Kirchoffs Law would come into play?
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#72624 - 12/06/06 07:21 AM Re: The path of least resistance
rabbitgun Offline
Member
Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 21
I think this is a direct reflection on the idea that humans tend to think that physics work the same way their brains do. Which in my case I can confirm.

Many humans try and take the path of least resistance only to find they are often forced to take other paths.
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#72625 - 12/06/06 08:27 AM Re: The path of least resistance
earlydean Offline
Member
Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
If you truly believe electricity takes the "path of least resistance", then I challenge you hold onto the GEC at your service during a lightning storm. Hold tight!
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Earl
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#72626 - 12/06/06 09:00 AM Re: The path of least resistance
gfretwell Offline


Member
Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9066
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Kirchoff says all the current going into a circuit comes out somewhere.
Ohm says it will come through the various paths in inverse proportion to the resistance/impedence.
Dean is saying it will take all paths available.
These are all true statements.
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Greg Fretwell
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#72627 - 12/06/06 09:43 AM Re: The path of least resistance
walrus Offline
Member
Registered: 07/25/02
Posts: 671
Loc: Bangor Me. USA
Not sure what the gripe is, electricity will take the path of least resistance. It may take others also. Won't the path with the least resistance have the highest current available also?
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#72628 - 12/06/06 09:58 AM Re: The path of least resistance
earlydean Offline
Member
Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 749
Loc: Griswold, CT, USA
The problem is by saying electricity takes the path of least resistance, it is implied electricity will shun any other paths.
A shock hazard exists even if you are a higher resistance path to ground than the equipment you are working on.
It would be far better IMHO to say "electricity will take any and every path".
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Earl
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#72629 - 12/06/06 11:14 AM Re: The path of least resistance
ShockMe77 Offline
Member
Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 823
Loc: Rahway, New Jersey
Quote:
"electricity will take any and every path".



Just ask the Con Edison POCO. Seemingly every few months or so another person (sometimes a pet) gets shocked and is either injured or killed. Electricial current HAS to return to it's source somehow.
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#72630 - 12/06/06 11:37 AM Re: The path of least resistance
iwire Offline
Moderator
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
I agree with Earl, this subject is also a pet peeve of mine.

I always point out to people that post 'electricity takes the path of least resistance' that it also will take all available paths.

IMO it is dangerous to think of electricity taking only the 'easy path'.
_________________________
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
Massachusetts
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#72631 - 12/06/06 01:09 PM Re: The path of least resistance
pauluk Offline
Member
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
I think this probably goes hand-in-hand with another great electrical myth:

"Electricity always tries to return to ground."
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