Electrical Current Hotdog Experiment

What happens inside your body when you are being shocked?
Find out with our hotdog experiment.

Arc Flash & Electrical Safety Learning Center / Arc Flash Safety Minute Video Series / Electrical Current Hotdog Experiment


Video Transcript

All right, today we're gonna be talking about what does current do to the human body when you get shocked? I got a volunteer named Charlie who has agreed to give us life force to show us what happens inside your body. And let me introduce you to Charlie, the hot dog. Does anybody know what a hot dog's made out of? You probably don't wanna know or you'd quit eating these things, but basically it's a combination of meat and moisture and it very closely represents the human body. So what we're gonna do is we're gonna put Charlie on this special hot dog cooker that we prepared for it and we'll just slide him on there. And what I got here is there's gonna be 120 volts applied to the hot dog. Current's gonna flow through him and what we're gonna observe is he's gonna cook from the inside out. The ground rod is disconnected. I'm connected into a GFCI. And as soon as I plug this thing in I should have 120 volts across the hot dog. So I'm gonna put my safety glasses on and I'm gonna put my rubber gloves on because it's gonna be energized.

Now those of you sitting in the front row you may wanna move back a little bit. One of the things I've learned over the years of doing this test is hot dogs are like people, no two hot dogs are created equal. And I never know what these things are gonna do. So if it blows up, it's gonna spread hot dog guts out across those of you in the front row. So you may wanna move back a little. All right, so we're gonna plug Charlie in and what do we see? Absolutely nothing. So let's take our voltmeter and let's just see how much voltage that we're putting on Charlie. So I'll put it across the 2 terminals and I measure 120 volts. Right on 120. Do you see anything happening with the hot dog? Nothing. Nothing is going on. Now this because the ground is disconnected, represents you with a drill that somebody cut the ground pin off on, and it shorts out and now you're laying on the ground held onto this drill and you can't let go and you're getting cooked like Charlie.

Now we're starting to see a little bit of smoke coming out at the end of him and that's very common with what you'll see on an entry. You'll have an entry wound and an exit wound. All right? But externally what do we see on Charlie other than smoke coming out the end of him? Nothing. So let's look and see what happens that soon as I establish a ground I should hear my GFCI trip, right? Charlie sitting here just cooking away but externally do you see anything? No. Watch, did you hear the GFCI trip? As soon as I got a ground circuit my GFCI tripped. All right. So let's take Charlie, he's now dead, he's laying on the floor dead. What do you do on an accident when somebody dies? EMT show up, they pick him up, and they do what? They haul him off to the hospital. Do we see anything on Charlie? Nothing, other than an entry and an exit wound, which is very common. What happens to a dead person when he shows up at the hospital? They do an autopsy. So let's take Charlie and we're gonna do an autopsy on him and see if he cooperated with us to show us what happens to the human body when you get electrocuted.

There's what happens. This guys is your guts, your liver, your kidneys, your vital organs. Externally nothing. He's got a little bit of a temperature but no external damage. Everything has been done internally and his guts have been cooked out. Now here's the scary part, this happens every time you get shocked. The order and magnitude of it depends on the duration of the shock and any value of it. Twenty, 30, 40 years later your kidneys fail and you don't know why, and it coulda been as a result of getting a big shock back in your 20s. So the bottom line, guys, the message here is be safe, wear your rubber gloves, and don't get shocked.

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