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Electric Plumbing Analogy and Static Electricity

There are quite a few misconceptions regarding electricity. But the one that I definitely hear the most is regarding the relationship between voltage and amps and what can kill you.


The Analogy

When I was first introduced to electricity, and electrocution, I was given an analogy of a water pipe.

With a water pipe, you have four factors that influence the flow of water.

  1. The pressure in the pipe represents the Voltage (Volts).
  2. The Volume of water represents the Amperes (Amps/Current).
  3. The Diameter of the pipe represents the Resistance (Ohms).
  4. An overflow reservoir represents the Ground.


Taking this analogy, we can now see:

  1. The Voltage is what ‘pushes’ the electricity around the circuit.
  2. The Amperage is the ‘volume’ of electricity travelling around the circuit.
  3. The Resistance is what ‘restricts’ the flow of electricity around the circuit.
  4. The Ground is the electricity overflow, so we can control the path of leaking electricity.


Static Electricity

When we are looking at how dangerous electricity really is, we don’t look at the voltage (not first anyway). We first start with the Current (Amps). This is an indication of how much electricity is going to be travelling through you every second. Everyone who has ever worked with electricity has heard the phrase “It’s not the volts that kill you, it’s the amps! However there is another very important factor when it comes to static electricity. Electrical charge. Electrical charge is dictated by the electrical capacity of the charged item. With static electricity this is so incredibly low that the electricity doesn’t have the constant voltage in order for it to keep travelling through the body. It just disperses harmlessly.


I hope this has provided you with a little more insight into the workings of electricity and static electricity.

For any more information regarding this, please get in touch.

Thanks, Pete