What voltage and amps are and why high volts may not kill you but high amps will


What voltage and amps are and why high volts may not kill you but high amps will

In: 16

Think of electrons like cars if a road has 100 cars but they are all stopped – voltage – potential.
If 100 cars pass a particular spot – flow – amperage.

amps is the actual amount of electricity flowing, so the more current flows through your body the kore dangerous it is

except that to get high enough current to flow throughout your body you need high voltage, the two are coupled, you can’t have one without the other

except again that is an oversimplification, you can have high current and high voltage flowing through your body if it lasts for a short enough amount of time your nerves cant feel it and your body will keep working the same, that’s what happens in static shocks for example, yeah it’s 10000 volts and maybe a few amps will flow though your body, but it lasts a few microseconds so you are fine

Imagine that you’re on the roof of a tallish building, phone in hand. You pull the SIM card out of the phone and toss it over the side. Next, you toss your phone over the side.

The SIM card weighs a fraction of a gram, and the person it lands on probably doesn’t even notice it.

The phone weighs something like 200 grams, and you’re now looking at a felony charge.

Water makes a decent analogy, pressure is voltage, flow rate is current(amps). It takes a certain amount of current flowing through your body to kill you, but you can’t get that current without having enough voltage to overcome the resistance of your skin and flesh.

Water significantly reduces the resistance of your skin, allowing lower voltages to push harmful levels of current through your body.

Though it’s more complicated than I’ve just described, especially when you start considering AC of different frequencies.


Volts is the potential that causes charges to move. And current is the amount of charge that is moving. People frequently use the water analogy where volts is the pressure of a hose, and the current is the flow of the water going through the hose.

You need both to kill you since it is the energy transfer that kills you and energy is the product of volts, current, and time.

A high voltage with no current won’t cause you many issues. You experience this with the zap from static electricity. This is extremely high voltage (thousands to millions of volts), but hardly any power is delivered since the current dissipates very quickly and the voltage drops just as quickly.

If you have a current flowing through you, then that means you have enough voltage to make that current flow. Humans skin is relatively high resistance 1k to 100k depending on dryness, so to get appreciable current you have appreciable voltage and appreciable power. 10mA current can give nasty shocks, and 100 to 200mA is generally considered fatal. Even if not fatal, electrical current will cause heat in the body and can damage tissues.