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


Earl

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#72623 - 12/06/06 09:10 AM Re: The path of least resistance  
watthead  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 172
South Carolina
Isn't this where Kirchoffs Law would come into play?


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


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


Earl

#72626 - 12/06/06 12:00 PM Re: The path of least resistance  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,140
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.


Greg Fretwell

#72627 - 12/06/06 12:43 PM Re: The path of least resistance  
walrus  Offline
Member
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
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?


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


Earl

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


#72630 - 12/06/06 02:37 PM Re: The path of least resistance  
iwire  Offline
Moderator
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
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

#72631 - 12/06/06 04:09 PM Re: The path of least resistance  
pauluk  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
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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