Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Woman Shocked by Electricity in China

I am looking for translators to translate this post into German. Email me if you are interested.

Korean translation (한국). Polish translation (w języku polskim). Spanish translation (en Espanol). Portuguese translation (em Português). French translation (en Français).

This video is very strange. It was apparently taken in China recently, but I don't know it what city, and I don't have an exact date. The woman, in her 50's, is mentally disturbed or upset in some way, and possibly suicidal.

She has somehow managed to climb a high tension pole in the middle of a very busy street in some huge Chinese city. It's simply incredibly how much traffic and sheer humans are on the street below. It looks like New York City, but when you realize there are cities like this all over China, you understand what the word overpopulation means.

Anyway, she is up there in broad daylight causing a scene and snarling traffic down below. For some reason, she reaches out and touches one of the high-tension wires and gets a huge electricity shock. You can see it run from her hand through her arm all the way to her head. She seems to catch on fire for a second, but then it goes out. A while later, as rescue workers are climbing the pole to save her, she idiotically touches the tension wires again, and gives herself another shock.

Curiously, she does not seem to be harmed too much by the shocks, and is still very much alive, though she has a nasty burn on her hand. Finally at the end she gets rescued, and we are told that she survived the episode with minor injuries.

It's uncertain why she was relatively unharmed by the voltage while the guy on the train in India was fried like an egg on a skillet. It has something to do with the notion of "grounding."

It appears that she was not properly grounded enough to kill her. There needs to be a relatively direct line from where the voltage hits all the way to ground for a voltage hit to be highly destructive or lethal. She somehow interrupted the hit to ground trajectory of the current, so her damage was fairly minor. I don't understand the notion of "grounding" very well, but it's essential to electrical engineering.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ground in electrical terms doesn't necessarily mean the ground we stand on, but it refers to whatever has the lowest electric potential. So the electricity may not have flowed to the ground beneath the pole, but rather from one wire to another. Notice that when the lady's hand hit one wire causing her to get zapped, her other hand had been sitting on another wire.

In general, electricity always flows from areas of higher potential to areas of lower potential. When you touch two objects that are at different electric potentials (for example a wire at 5 Volts and a wire at 50 Volts), your body will connect them electrically so that electricity may use your body as a pathway to achieve a lower energy state over a potential drop of 45 Volts. The energy the electricity loses is imparted to the person who provided the path. Those numbers don't reflect any realistic scenario, but it's still the same situation when you lick a 9 V battery.

Two main factors could explain why the guy on the train got smoked so much worse:
- Did the guy make stronger electrical contact than the lady?
- Is the potential difference between the wire and the train smaller or larger than the potential difference between the two wires on the electric pole? This would be a good question for engineers.