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Semi-Safe Electric Current in Water without explosions?

  1. Sep 13, 2012 #1

    I am currently trying to create a sculpture that involves having a live electric current running through water inside of a sterilite tub.

    The way I would like to go about doing this is very crude, I would like to take an extension cord, cut the end off of it,and stick the live end into the water. I realize this is very dangerous, but I want it to look really dangerous, however... ideally not be actually dangerous to anybody as long as they do not touch the water.

    I have already tried this out,I clipped the end off of a three pronged extension cord, separated the wires, stuck that end into the water, plugged the other end into a power strip that was plugged into the wall... and nothing exploded (some people have cautioned be that live electricity coming out of a wall socket could cause an explosion if exposed to water). I had no way of testing though if the electrical current was infact flowing through the water, I separated each of the three cables in the cord to different sides of the tub so I am not sure if they were close enough to actually create a flow of electricity, or perhaps if I were to have touched the water I would have been electrocuted but I am trying to avoid that if at all possible.

    Incase you cannot tell, I am a complete newbie to the world of electricity and do not really know where to start in terms of testing how this current is flowing, or understanding how to set this up in a semi-safe way (i would love to avoid explosions or serious electrocutions if at all possible).

    I also don't understand the way grounding a signal works, would I be better off using a grounded cord or an ungrounded 2 prong cord in this instance?

    Is there anywhere you would recommend I look to learn more about electricity, any forums or online communities/resources where someone might be generous enough to explain to me the forces at play in the system I am creating and how I can experiment with various configurations without hurting myself or someone else?

    Any tips or insights into working with electricity in water or the basics of working with electricity would be extremely helpful.

    As far as safety precautions go, I have been wearing shoes with rubber soles, rubber gloves, and only using one hand when working on this project. I was told that if I am handling cables with two hands the signal could travel across my body to my heart and stop it so I have been doing my best to avoid that ;)

    Please see attached image for example of how the wiring is currently implemented.

    http://desmond.imageshack.us/Himg339/scaled.php?server=339&filename=photo1cp.jpg&res=landing [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 13, 2012 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF. We do not discuss dangerous activities here (please re-read the Rules link at the top of the page -- you agreed to abide by those rules when you joined here). This thread is closed.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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