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How does being grounded allow electricity to flow through you?

Written By: Generator Man - Apr• 16•13

Question by ScienceGuy: How does being grounded allow electricity to flow through you?
Doesn’t electricity have to return to the source to be able to electrocute? Why do electric power lines need to have a ground?

Best answer:

Answer by Daryan T
i can’t be specific, but think of it like a paper pipe. when water enters one end and leaves the other, everything works fine. but when the water has no way out, it can ruin the pipe (electrocute you because it has no way out so it just goes crazy). It’s a bit of a rough analogy but you get the point.

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5 Comments

  1. ICU says:

    Wow, what an answer below! How about this: A ground wire, system, is designed to protect us from us being the ground, i.e., least path of resistance. Yes it does have a return path, the one of least resistance. Say, for example, a hot wire goes to ground on an appliance. When you touch it, you certainly have the chance of being shocked. The severity of the shock is the path of least resistance, therefore if the appliance is grounded, it becomes the path of least resistance giving you a better chance and not getting zapped!

  2. squidge28 says:

    Yes, electricity has to return towards the source to electrocute you. That is easily done (if you touch a live wire) because you are grounded most of the time and you are an excellent path back to the source.

    The power lines are not grounded. The equipment on the pole that hold the power lines in the air is grounded. The power lines themselves are isolated by insulators. If the power lines were to touch a ground, the power would go out.

    The ground is a return path back to the source by design. The ground is in place primarily for safety. Generators, transformers, power poles, and your home all have ground rods driven into the earth. Those rods make sure you are at the same electrical potential (voltage level) as the equipment you touch in your home on on the street corner. If you are at the same potential, then you can’t be shocked.

    If you disconnect a ground, (plug a three prong device into a two prong outlet) then you run the risk of the equipment with a disconnected ground being at a different voltage than you. The third prong is a ground to make sure that doesn’t happen. People used to get shocked by faulty devices and that’s why the third prong is there.

  3. Rouse says:

    Electricity will conduct through you when one part of your body, for example your feet, is at a different potential or voltage than another part, for example your hand when you touch an exposed electrical conductor.

    If you have electrically insulated shoes, and touch the exposed wire with one hand, you won’t get shocked. You will become energized to the voltage of the wire, but no current will flow through you because the rubber or plastic soles isolate you from the ground and there is no voltage difference to cause current flow.

    The human body is very sensitive to electrical current. About 1/100 of an ampere of current through your body, depending on the path, can stop your heart. So your shoes would need to be very well insulated for you not get shocked if you grab a live AC line.

  4. Bijay Singh says:

    Electrical equipments, wires etc., have a leak of electricity so the leakage electricity should be ground. other wise will get a bit shock. by touching electrical equipments etc.,

  5. fathima says:

    This answer should start from the very basic of electricity.
    Anyway due to limited space & time. Check this
    Electricity happens due to difference in potentials, ie, from a high potential to low potential. The earth is considered to have a zero potential, ie the least of any power conductors. Since we make an closed path by connecting the zero potential earth and the power conductor the power flow through us making electrocution or simply a shock. This happens because our body conducts electric pulses. The proper insulation makes the circuit open, so no power flows through us.
    I think u have an idea now.

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