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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 16
chimo Offline OP
I think it’s understood that if someone is taking a bath, and a running hair dryer falls in, they will be electrocuted. What I don’t understand is why? I understand that the human body is a better conductor then tap water, but why would the current travel through the human? Assuming that the drain is the only ground, and the person isn’t touching anything, wouldn’t the current travel directly from the hair dryer to the drain? What if the person is sitting at one end of the tub, and the hair dryer falls in directly over the drain? Would they still be shocked?

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
Likes: 1
C-H Offline
Current doesn't only takes the shortest path 'cos if the shortest path is full of electrons moving about, it is easier for some of them to go a longer way without bumping into each other than to get in line with the others. Compare to traffic in a busy city. Electrons don't bother about signs... [Linked Image]

Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 375
If I sit on the shore of Lake Michigan and a hair drier is dropped into the lake far away, do I get shocked?

Distance helps. Distance may solve the problem for you, but it is a losing proposition.

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
Electricity takes every path available to it. Use Ohms law to determine the current flow through each parallel path. Distance is a factor in the resistance put up by the water, which is why the fellow 500 yards from the hair dryer dropped in the lake doesn't feel a thing.

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
Funny this question should come up now...

"Mythbusters" just tested this out- and they had no trouble 'electrocuting' their dummy with a variety of appliances. Those with GFI or imersion protective devices were, in fact, effectively protected.

Also, out here Fish & Game uses electricity to stun fish for census purposes; it's amazing how large an area a little jolt will stun.

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
John, I heard that this will not work on fish with scales. The only fish to be effected are fish with skins such as (catfish, etc.) But I personally don't know this to be fact.

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 330
We have a site where we divert trout from swimming upstream into a controlled side channel to collect eggs etc. using an electric field which temporarily paralizes the fish. So growing scales won't protect you.


Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 518
Scales won't protect you? Inspector, beware! :-)

Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 329
When I was in the Army we used percussion to stun the fish. That's a fancy name for a grenade. Worked real well and we could take it on the boat (until we got caught).

Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,498
Good ole dynamite fishing... illegal in most areas. Common joke here is the "dynamite fishing in the aquarium" using firecrackers. Nobody ever did it as far as I know, but everybody gets a laugh of the idea... will effectively shatter the aquarium.

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