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The path of least resistance #72622 12/06/06 08:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
E
earlydean Offline OP
Member
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"!!!!!


Earl
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: The path of least resistance #72623 12/06/06 09:10 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 172
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watthead Offline
Member
Isn't this where Kirchoffs Law would come into play?

Re: The path of least resistance #72624 12/06/06 10:21 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 23
R
rabbitgun Offline
Member
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.

Re: The path of least resistance #72625 12/06/06 11:27 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
E
earlydean Offline OP
Member
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!


Earl
Re: The path of least resistance #72626 12/06/06 12:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,571
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gfretwell Offline
Member
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.


Greg Fretwell
Re: The path of least resistance #72627 12/06/06 12:43 PM
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Posts: 680
W
walrus Offline
Member
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?

Re: The path of least resistance #72628 12/06/06 12:58 PM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
E
earlydean Offline OP
Member
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".


Earl
Re: The path of least resistance #72629 12/06/06 02:14 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
S
ShockMe77 Offline
Member
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.

Re: The path of least resistance #72630 12/06/06 02:37 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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iwire Offline
Moderator
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
Re: The path of least resistance #72631 12/06/06 04:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
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pauluk Offline
Member
I think this probably goes hand-in-hand with another great electrical myth:

"Electricity always tries to return to ground."

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