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#72622 12/06/06 08:32 AM
Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
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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
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 172
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Isn't this where Kirchoffs Law would come into play?

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 23
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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.

Joined: Dec 2003
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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
Joined: Jul 2004
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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
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
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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?

Joined: Dec 2003
Posts: 751
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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
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 821
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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.

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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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
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
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I think this probably goes hand-in-hand with another great electrical myth:

"Electricity always tries to return to ground."

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