Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Question about electricity?

  1. Feb 16, 2012 #1
    OK is it true that you can die if you are wet and are shocked by standard 120 volts?
    Like for example if you took a bath and stuck a fork could you die?
    btw I touched a 120 volt wire with a wet finger, but it wasn't too bad/fatal...
    (is it more likely to die or survive if wet?)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2012 #2

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Yep, you can die. Please don't do that.

    BTW -- Welcome to the PF. :smile:
     
  4. Feb 16, 2012 #3

    Bobbywhy

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    nothingman, Welcome to PF! I hope you remain alive for a long, long time and enjoy life. Messing around 120 Volt is HIGHLY dangerous!

    WARNING! Electric shocks can kill! Read this Wiki article and NEVER forget to respect ALL electricity.

    “Electric shock occurs upon contact of a (human) body with any source of electricity that causes a sufficient current through the skin, muscles, or hair. Typically, the expression is used to denote an unwanted exposure to electricity, hence the effects are considered undesirable.[1]

    The minimum current a human can feel depends on the current type (AC or DC) and frequency. A person can feel at least 1 mA (rms) of AC at 60 Hz, while at least 5 mA for DC. The current may, if it is high enough, cause tissue damage or fibrillation which leads to cardiac arrest. 60 mA of AC (rms, 60 Hz) or 300–500 mA of DC can cause fibrillation.[2][3] A sustained electric shock from AC at 120 V, 60 Hz is an especially dangerous source of ventricular fibrillation because it usually exceeds the let-go threshold, while not delivering enough initial energy to propel the person away from the source. However, the potential seriousness of the shock depends on paths through the body that the currents take.[2] Death caused by an electric shock is called electrocution.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_shock
     
  5. Feb 16, 2012 #4

    Drakkith

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The key is that 120 volts CAN kill you, but not necessarily that it will. The best rule of thumb is to simply stay away from any source of electricity.
     
  6. Feb 16, 2012 #5

    jim hardy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    dry skin is an excellent insulator.

    When in my boat in the ocean and covered with salt spray, i cannot touch the 12 volt battery terminal the shock is so severe. That's because the salt water makes skin a lesser insulator so the modest battery voltage gets right through the skin to nerve tissue.

    120 volts can definitely kill you when wet.
    Your fingertip has thick tough skin on it, dont try that with any other appendages.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2012
  7. Feb 17, 2012 #6
    So what does that mean that if your finger was a little wet and you accidentally touched an outlet and the water got in you would immediately die? sounds like Scary Stuff.

    also btw how do little kids who stick wet fingers in outlets survive?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2012
  8. Feb 17, 2012 #7

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    As already stated, do not play with high voltage electricity, especially if you do not know what you are doing. Thread is locked.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Question about electricity?
Loading...