# Shock - So why is it that some people in their homes just...

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Note-A-Rific: Shocking! When dealing with electricity, you must always be careful. The question is, what is it about electricity that can cause so much damage to a human? There are two main ways electricity will hurt a person: 1. Electricity can block the normal functions of nerve cells, which can cause anything from a mild tingle to a major heart attack. 2. Electrical burns can be caused when electricity arcs. They are essentially treated like any other burn. Focusing on the interruption electricity can cause to nerve cells, we can still ask why? It is actually the current that will hurt you, not the voltage. To remember this, keep the phrase “Current kills” in your mind. Effect of Various Electric Currents on the Human Body Current (A) Effect 0.001 Can be felt, tingling 0.005 Painful 0.010 Involuntary muscle contractions (spasms) 0.015 Loss of muscle control 0.070 Serious disruption of nervous system, fatal if it lasts more than about one second.

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Unformatted text preview: So why is it that some people in their homes just get a little zap, but others are fatally shocked? • Current depends on the voltage (120V from North American outlets) and the resistance of the conductor. o Different peoples’ bodies have different resistances, though for the most part an average person is a pretty good conductor. o It also depend on the condition of the person… is their skin dry or did they just get out of the tub? Completely Dry Skin ! 500 000 Ω Salt Water Soaked Body ! 100 Ω Example : What would the effect be on a person if they stuck their finger into a regular wall outlet under the following conditions… (don’t try this at home, folks!) a) with completely dry skin? I = V/ R = (120V) / (500 000 Ω ) = 2.4 x 10-4 A You probably wouldn’t even be able to feel this… b) after sitting in a bathtub filled with salt water? I = V/ R = (120V) / (100 Ω ) = 1.2 A Youch! If this lasts more than a second, that person’s probably dead....
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## This note was uploaded on 02/29/2012 for the course PHYS 227 taught by Professor Rabe during the Fall '08 term at Rutgers.

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Shock - So why is it that some people in their homes just...

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