Occasionally people get killed in their bathtubs by having an electrical device such as a hair-dryer take the bath with them - in movies.
It seems to be a common belief that this is realistic, even though it makes no sense to me.
There are two scenarios:
- The device short-circuits internally (that means entirely over either both poles of the energy supply having contact with water, or the pole under electric tension together with the earth conductor - that way, the current should not leave the devices chassis).
- The device short-circuits over the pole under electric tension and the bathtub itself (earth eventually, but a different route).
In the first case (which I thought would be common, since the earth conductor is often connected to prominent large metal parts for safety reasons) I can't see what should happen: Clearly a human being wouldn't be affected from that local a current that takes place entirely in the chassis of the device - or am I mistaken?
In the second case, the question is whether the human body is more conductive (including the skin barrier) than the bathtub water. And even if it was, which I don't know, that would only make a difference if this circumstance would actually lead to a shortcut the current could take on its way to earth.
All that sounds like a lot of "ifs" to me, so I thought I put the question out here.
- What do people think on the physics?
- Do people have links to statistics, that is: does this at all happen?