If you urinate on an electric fence will it shock you?

02 August 2009

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Question

If you urinate on an electric fence will it shock you?

Answer

Dave - I can't say any reason why not and I grew up in a rural area, and it was one thing I was told very, very definitely not to do, with such force. I have a feeling various groups that were telling me had personal experience in this area.

An electric fence, basically, works by having a wire which is put up to a couple of thousand Volts with a very limited current. So the current will flow through you, but the amount of current that can flow is not going to be dangerous.

Now, an electric current will flow quite well through your body because your body's got water in it with some salt in there. The salt has got ions in it which means the electricity can flow through it quite nicely. Urine is water with some salts in it so electricity is going to flow through it very nicely. So, yes, as far as I know, you can certainly get shock in that manner, yes.

Chris - Is that true where the guy pees on the underground and gets a bit of a shock? Would it be fatal? Would there be enough current flowing in the urine stream, do you think, to get...?

Dave - I don't know. The underground is about 600 volts, I think, which...

Chris - DC?

Dave - DC. So I would have thought that this will be plenty there. Again, it depends how well where the current can flow, if he's attached to earth quite nicely. If he's wearing rubber Wellington boots, probably less likely.

Chris - And will the electricity flow up the urine at the speed of light - i.e. the speed electricity?

Dave - It should flow up the urine at about the speed of electricity, yes.

Chris - So it would be an instantaneous shock? I think there's a Kitchen Science in this.

Chris - And I think we should just send Dave out to try it.

Helen - Well I think we should just take Dave's word for it but it does happen so don't go and pee in the underground. Thank you very much!

Comments

If the fence is low down the chances of the steam of "pee" separating into individual droplets is pretty good so a shock cannot travel up the water stream and shock you. The higher up the electric wire the higher your chances of getting a shock. However there are plenty of examples of it happening and I have witnessed it myself.

I also add that if some one urinate on electric wire he get shock. Remember urine is acidic or it contains minaral salts like irons. And irons are metals and metals conduct electricity. So you body will be filled with electric cursents .and due to much or excess electricity in it,water,blood will everporate hence burning of the body systems and death occur.

1. Urine is not necessarily acidic. If you have developed a metabolic acidosis (for instance in diabetic ketoacidosis, or CO2 retention owing to a respiratory problem) then it may well be acidic to achieve compensation. But if you ascend to altitude, hyperventilation will lead to a respiratory alkalosis (alkaline blood) for which you will compensate with metabolic alkalosis (alkaline urine).

2. The salts in urine are ions, not "irons". 

3. Yes, the urine will provide a conductive path, and you may well get a shock; but electric fences are designed to deter, and possibly stun, but not kill. The current flowing up a stream of urine from an electric fence would be modest: probably painful, but not lethal.

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