Can Static Kill a Human?
2008-10-20 13:09:48 UTC
I am trying to think up a myth for the show Mythbusters. Then I heard that a man was killed with a large jolt of static electricity from his friend, and stopped his heart. Would this myth be plausible enough to be Mythbuster worthy?
Three answers:
2008-10-20 15:18:51 UTC
It can and it has. Even discounting the massive static shocks like lightning it still can kill. In fact a normal shock like that from a car can kill some people.

It seems hard to imagine but lets say you have a very weak heart. For example lets say your artery wall is very thin. Then basically any thing that suddenly increases the heart rate can kill.

So a bad fright, a brief run after a bus or yes the static shock can do it. However the strong muscle contraction from the static shock makes this much more likely than the other two. When the body tenses the blood gets squeezed and momentarily the heart is put under extra pressure.

This is the reason that if you check any game that punishes by shocking you like (source 1) it will say not suitable for anyone with a heart condition.
2008-10-20 13:48:02 UTC
Yes, static electricity can and does kill living organisms.

Lightning is the Ultimate example of this.

Aircraft develop large charges of static electricity due to their speed and friction with air molecules.

Blimps and the like will attain a high static charge when in flight.

These static charges on these craft must be discharged before a person comes in contact with them.

A hovering helicopter can deliver quite a shock when it has been flying for sometime and then hover without touching the ground! If a person were to be on the ground and touched some part of the craft ( even a trailing rope or cable), that person would get a noticeable if not painful jolt!
2008-10-20 13:19:20 UTC
Hell yea they would put that on mythbusters. They will do anything to fill that time slot...there are only so many myth in the world.

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