can someone explain the physics behind why a toaster in the bath could pass electricity through someone in the bath?


Tried to read it on a sub about engineering but they were using a lot of jargon

In: Engineering

Toasters run electricity through metal parts to heat them up. Those coils are what toasts your bread. Toss them in a bath and the current flows through the water and you, which is usually pretty bad for your health

If the toaster falls in the bath, then the electricity will take the path of the least resistance to earth. This can be through the water, or through a person in the bath, or even both. In the old days, when all plumbing was metal, the easiest route was via the drain. Today most baths are plastic of glass fibre, and most drains are plastic. So the route to earth is often the dampness on the bath and through the taps. So the electricity will flow in all directions, including through a person.

Even though pure water isn’t very conductive, it is very rare to find pure water. Swimming pools, for example, contain lots of chloride (which *does* conduct electricity), which is why it’s dangerous to go swimming in a thunderstorm. The water from your faucet, meanwhile, has a number of added minerals, most notably fluoride, meant to help keep you healthy. Unfortunately, those added minerals also conduct electricity, so any live wire submerged in tap water will electrify the whole area of the water. Now, most of our appliances are designed with this in mind, and very few have any way to expose a live wire without actually destroying the appliance first. However, since toasters are reliant on live wires to, well, toast things, it’s next to impossible to design one that does not expose this wire in some form.

Toaster has live wire exposed, toaster goes in bath, water hits the live wire, water gets electrified.

It’s MOSTLY comic book science in scary movies.
Here’s an engineering test: put voltmeter probes in the water, say, couple of feet apart like a human would take up.
Now put the toaster in the water and plug it in.
MOST of the current goes through the water itself (to the drain outlet which is a ‘grounded’ pipe) and the voltmeter will register very little.

Ok now I’m going to have to try it with an ammeter and separate voltmeter and report back