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Friday, 2 February 2018

Why Do people Get flung Across The Room When Electrocuted?

The first thing to understand when thinking about an electric shock is that nothing is going 'through' you.

Rather, when we get electrocuted (which happens when we come into contact with a voltage of around 1 mA), it is actually the electrons in us that move, creating a 'current'. Imagine yourself as being an open ended tube of Smarties which is completely packed to the brim. If you push a Smartie in through the top, it's going to force one out of the other end – and this is precisely what happens when you have a current running through you (only with electrons, not Smarties).


As the current passes through your body, it will meet resistance in the form of your flesh (which acts the same way as a resistor in a circuit). Like a resistor though, this also creates heat, which is what causes the sometimes severe burns that you can receive from an electric shock.

It's also important to remember that electrical signals are what our bodies use to send signals between our nerves including muscle fibres and neurons. This then means that our nerves will register false positives, causing our muscles to flex for instance. When you watch someone get electrocuted in a film online, usually you will see that they get thrown across the room like a rag doll. The reason for this is actually that their own muscles are throwing them that far by tensing so suddenly.
When muscles are stimulated by an electric current, these built-in limits don’t apply, so the contractions can be violent.

The electric current typically flows into one arm, through the abdomen, and out of one or both legs, which can cause most of the muscles in the body to contract at once.

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