Outlet Covers


Explain to me why child safety plugs do not melt or catch fire when you plug them in the outlet?

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Electricity flows in the path of least resistance. There’s so much resistance in the plastic that electricity won’t attempt to flow through them/no current is drawn. No current= no heat= no melty

Edit: if you’re trying to figure out why electricity only flows through the pass of least resistance think of it as water on an uneven surface and your safety plug is at the highest point. The water just won’t go that way because nothing is drawing or pushing it. Except electricity is drawn/pushed by electromagnetic force which flows through conductive materials

That is an interesting question. The outlet covers for those who don’t know what they are are small plastic disks that have prongs like a regular electrical plug and go into the opening of the socket to protect children.

The reason they don’t melt is because of the material that is used to make them. The plastic material is used because it doesn’t conduct electricity.

Unlike a standard outlet plug which completes the circuit and allows electricity to flow to the household appliance, the plastic plug does not complete the circuit.

The cover doesn’t melt because it doesn’t get hit because electricity doesn’t flow through it.

The amount of heat created by electricity depends on the amount of current flowing.

The amount of current in turn depends on the voltage and resistance. Current is equal to voltage divided by resistance.

The plastic that these child safety plug are made of has an extremely high resistance, in the order of many billions, or even billions of billions of Ohms. That means the current that flows through it almost zero.

And the current being almost zero consequently means the hest is almost zero.

Electricity resistance creates a lower threshold of power that has to be met before it starts flowing. If the force of the electricity isn’t strong enough to start any movement, then the electrons just don’t move. It is the moving electrons interacting with what they are moving through that causes the fire-starting, plastic-melting heat.

This is especially true in a system like a house, where there is always a different path of least resistance somewhere else so the outlet is never the only resistance holding back the electricity.

Metal electric wire is a conductor. It can easily carry electrical current.

Plastic is an insulator, especially plastic chosen for such an application. Electricity doesn’t travel through it because it has a very high electrical resistance.