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Why Doesn't Static Electricity Kill You?

Static electricity has a high voltage, so why are those electric shocks merely annoying instead of deadly? Everyday Einstein explains

By
Lee Falin, PhD,
Episode #046

Being Thick Skinned

Normally the human body has a pretty high resistance to electricity thanks to our skin. However, certain things can significantly lower our resistance, such as when we’re wet, or when our skin is punctured or burned.

This is why an electrical source with high voltage and an unlimited current is particularly dangerous, because the high voltage burns your skin, allowing the current to more easily flow through your body.

Conclusion

So now you know why static electricity doesn’t kill you; despite having extremely high voltage, there just isn’t enough electrical charge available to do any damage. Of course this only refers to direct damage from static electricity. Electrostatic discharge can still cause you trouble if it ignites something combustible, such as happened with the Hindenburg disaster.

If you liked today’s episode, you can become a fan of Everyday Einstein on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, where I’m @QDTeinstein. If you have a question that you’d like to see on a future episode, send me an email at everydayeinstein@quickanddirtytips.com.

 
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Baby image from Shutterstock

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About the Author

Lee Falin, PhD
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