<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Define thermal hazard, shock hazard, and short circuit.
  • Explain what effects various levels of current have on the human body.

There are two known hazards of electricity—thermal and shock. A thermal hazard    is one where excessive electric power causes undesired thermal effects, such as starting a fire in the wall of a house. A shock hazard    occurs when electric current passes through a person. Shocks range in severity from painful, but otherwise harmless, to heart-stopping lethality. This section considers these hazards and the various factors affecting them in a quantitative manner. Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices will consider systems and devices for preventing electrical hazards.

Thermal hazards

Electric power causes undesired heating effects whenever electric energy is converted to thermal energy at a rate faster than it can be safely dissipated. A classic example of this is the short circuit    , a low-resistance path between terminals of a voltage source. An example of a short circuit is shown in [link] . Insulation on wires leading to an appliance has worn through, allowing the two wires to come into contact. Such an undesired contact with a high voltage is called a short . Since the resistance of the short, r size 12{r} {} , is very small, the power dissipated in the short, P = V 2 / r size 12{P = V rSup { size 8{2} } /r} {} , is very large. For example, if V size 12{V} {} is 120 V and r size 12{r} {} is 0 . 100 Ω size 12{0 "." "100" %OMEGA } {} , then the power is 144 kW, much greater than that used by a typical household appliance. Thermal energy delivered at this rate will very quickly raise the temperature of surrounding materials, melting or perhaps igniting them.

Part a shows an electric toaster of resistance capital R connected to an A C voltage source. The wires used to connect the toaster to the supply are worn out in one place, allowing them to come into contact with an undesired, lower resistance path, symbolized by lowercase r. Part b of the figure represents the circuit diagram for the electric connection described in part a. The voltage source is connected to two paths in parallel: the toaster with resistance capital R, and the undesired lower resistance path, symbolized by lowercase r.
A short circuit is an undesired low-resistance path across a voltage source. (a) Worn insulation on the wires of a toaster allow them to come into contact with a low resistance r size 12{r} {} . Since P = V 2 / r size 12{P = V rSup { size 8{2} } /r} {} , thermal power is created so rapidly that the cord melts or burns. (b) A schematic of the short circuit.

One particularly insidious aspect of a short circuit is that its resistance may actually be decreased due to the increase in temperature. This can happen if the short creates ionization. These charged atoms and molecules are free to move and, thus, lower the resistance r size 12{r} {} . Since P = V 2 / r size 12{P = V rSup { size 8{2} } /r} {} , the power dissipated in the short rises, possibly causing more ionization, more power, and so on. High voltages, such as the 480-V AC used in some industrial applications, lend themselves to this hazard, because higher voltages create higher initial power production in a short.

Another serious, but less dramatic, thermal hazard occurs when wires supplying power to a user are overloaded with too great a current. As discussed in the previous section, the power dissipated in the supply wires is P = I 2 R w size 12{P = I rSup { size 8{2} } R rSub { size 8{w} } } {} , where R w size 12{R rSub { size 8{w} } } {} is the resistance of the wires and I size 12{I} {} the current flowing through them. If either I size 12{I} {} or R w size 12{R rSub { size 8{w} } } {} is too large, the wires overheat. For example, a worn appliance cord (with some of its braided wires broken) may have R w = 2 . 00 Ω size 12{R rSub { size 8{w} } =2 "." "00"` %OMEGA } {} rather than the 0 . 100 Ω size 12{0 "." "100" %OMEGA } {} it should be. If 10.0 A of current passes through the cord, then P = I 2 R w = 200 W size 12{P = I rSup { size 8{2} } R rSub { size 8{w} } ="200"`W} {} is dissipated in the cord—much more than is safe. Similarly, if a wire with a 0 . 100 - Ω size 12{0 "." "100"- %OMEGA } {} resistance is meant to carry a few amps, but is instead carrying 100 A, it will severely overheat. The power dissipated in the wire will in that case be P = 1000 W size 12{P = "1000"`W} {} . Fuses and circuit breakers are used to limit excessive currents. (See [link] and [link] .) Each device opens the circuit automatically when a sustained current exceeds safe limits.

Questions & Answers

what is power?
aron Reply
power P = Work done per second W/ t. It means the more power, the stronger machine
Sphere
e.g. heart Uses 2 W per beat.
Rohit
A spherica, concave shaving mirror has a radius of curvature of 32 cm .what is the magnification of a persons face. when it is 12cm to the left of the vertex of the mirror
Alona Reply
did you solve?
Shii
1.75cm
Ridwan
my name is Abu m.konnek I am a student of a electrical engineer and I want you to help me
Abu
the magnification k = f/(f-d) with focus f = R/2 =16 cm; d =12 cm k = 16/4 =4
Sphere
A weather vane is some sort of directional arrow parallel to the ground that may rotate freely in a horizontal plane. A typical weather vane has a large cross-sectional area perpendicular to the direction the arrow is pointing, like a “One Way” street sign. The purpose of the weather vane is to indicate the direction of the wind. As wind blows pa
Kavita Reply
hi
Godfred
what about the wind vane
Godfred
If a prism is fully imersed in water then the ray of light will normally dispersed or their is any difference?
Anurag Reply
the same behavior thru the prism out or in water bud abbot
Ju
If this will experimented with a hollow(vaccum) prism in water then what will be result ?
Anurag
What was the previous far point of a patient who had laser correction that reduced the power of her eye by 7.00 D, producing a normal distant vision power of 50.0 D for her?
Jaydie Reply
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
What is the far point of a person whose eyes have a relaxed power of 50.5 D?
Jaydie
A young woman with normal distant vision has a 10.0% ability to accommodate (that is, increase) the power of her eyes. What is the closest object she can see clearly?
Jaydie
29/20 ? maybes
Ju
In what ways does physics affect the society both positively or negatively
Princewill Reply
how can I read physics...am finding it difficult to understand...pls help
rerry Reply
try to read several books on phy don't just rely one. some authors explain better than other.
Ju
And don't forget to check out YouTube videos on the subject. Videos offer a different visual way to learn easier.
Ju
hope that helps
Ju
I have a exam on 12 february
David Reply
what is velocity
Jiti
the speed of something in a given direction.
Ju
what is a magnitude in physics
Jiti Reply
Propose a force standard different from the example of a stretched spring discussed in the text. Your standard must be capable of producing the same force repeatedly.
Giovani Reply
What is meant by dielectric charge?
It's Reply
what happens to the size of charge if the dielectric is changed?
Brhanu Reply
omega= omega not +alpha t derivation
Provakar Reply
u have to derivate it respected to time ...and as w is the angular velocity uu will relace it with "thita × time""
Abrar
do to be peaceful with any body
Brhanu Reply
the angle subtended at the center of sphere of radius r in steradian is equal to 4 pi how?
Saeed Reply
if for diatonic gas Cv =5R/2 then gamma is equal to 7/5 how?
Saeed
Practice Key Terms 4

Get the best College physics for ap... course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, College physics for ap® courses. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11844/1.14
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'College physics for ap® courses' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask