Wasp spray can tells me “Dielectric breakdown voltage of 47,300 volts”. What are they trying to tell me?

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Wasp spray can tells me “Dielectric breakdown voltage of 47,300 volts”. What are they trying to tell me?

In: Chemistry

5 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Dielectric strength, or dielectric breakdown potential, is how much voltage is required before an electric arc can jump across a gap. For air, it takes around 3000 volts to jump a 1mm gap, give or take, depending on temperature and humidity and ionization.

The 47.3kV number is talking about the cloud of mist that comes out of the can, and it means if you’re at zero volts and that cloud touches something that’s at 47 thousand volts, you could get an arc from the charged object, through the cloud, into the can. From there, the juice could decide to go up your arm, and if you’re really unlucky it could ignite the can propellant. Small fireball. Scorched eyebrows. If the gods really hate you, you fall off your ladder and break something.

Anonymous 0 Comments

If you’re spraying at a wasp nest on a utility pole, consider the potential of getting zapped, even from the ground.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Wasp spray is part of the standard kit of people who work on utility poles. 

 Dialectric breakdown voltage tells the worker the voltage of the wires they can safely use it on before they risk creating a short, or worse, a  ground fault with themselves in the path of the electricity.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A dielectric material is a type of electric insulator. So current can not normally pass thorough it. But if the electric field becomes strong enough it can break down and become conductive. You may recognise this as a spark. Normally this is measured in kV/mm or other equivalent unit. For example air breaks down at 3 kV/mm. This means that two wires that are 5mm apart may hold 15kV before there will be a spark, assuming optimal conditions. The 47.3kV number you quote does not have any distance associated with it. The only thing I can think of is that it might be over the average size of the droplets or something. So it might indicate that it is safe to spray into electrical cabinets.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I am so numb, I assumed the spray worked by somehow shorting out the nervous system of the wasp or bug!!! This was a good explainer….thanks guys!!