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Why is AC more dangerous than DC?

  1. Oct 24, 2010 #1
    Why is AC more dangerous than DC even if the peak voltage of AC is the same as the DC voltage?

    This is a problem from our exam. Before I read the question I always thought that AC is more dangerous than DC because at the same voltage, AC voltage is higher as it has a peak voltage than DC. I've searched online and some people say DC is more dangerous than AC so I'm really not sure what the answer is.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2010 #2
    What important organ in your body does things at a regular rate controlled by nerve signals?
    How are nerve signals and electricity related.

    -ps high power DC can be more dangerous than AC because of difficulties switching it - but that doesn't really relate to how low AC currents kill you.
  4. Oct 25, 2010 #3
    I was always taught that an AC shock would throw you off while DC would make you hold on; so AC was safer.
  5. Oct 25, 2010 #4
    certainly DC is the one dangerous, remember, when we represent DC potential on a graph is a straight line. The straight line means if DC happens to hold you, it's going to be a hard time for you.
    AC is safer, because graphaically is alternating, which means you may have a chance to escape.
  6. Oct 25, 2010 #5

    Thank you guys for your reply :)

    From NobodySpecial's hint I'm thinking that since the current in AC is alternating it will be more likely to cause ventricular fibrillation than DC. Can anyone confirm is this is right?
  7. Oct 25, 2010 #6
    Yes, AC causes your heart to try and beat at the AC frequency.
    Since 60beats/second is not really sustainable - you die.
    AC can kill you with as little as 20mA.
  8. Oct 25, 2010 #7
    wow...i learn new thing today!
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