1. Given two AC currents of the same intensity, eg 20 mA, but different frequency, 60 Hz and 20MHz, which one would be more likely to reach the heart ?

  2. I've read about the skin effect and how current tends to flow on the surface of a conductor. Does that apply to a dead human body at this particular context?

  3. Would the low frequency penetrate the dead body and reach the heart and the high frequency be confined to the skin?

  • $\begingroup$ Low frequency AC is more likely to cause heart fibrillation than high frequency AC. I suggest you do some reading on the hazards of electricity on the body. $\endgroup$
    – Ruben
    Feb 16, 2014 at 8:20
  • $\begingroup$ This would appear to be a question about Biology rather than physics. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Feb 16, 2014 at 23:28
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it is about biology and human physiology. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2014 at 2:59
  • $\begingroup$ This question appears to be off-topic because it belongs on biology.stackexchange.com. $\endgroup$ Feb 17, 2014 at 5:17
  • $\begingroup$ Ok let me fix it for you. $\endgroup$
    – stathisk
    Feb 17, 2014 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


This article is very good in describing the dangers of electricity, which I suggest you read. http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_1/chpt_3/4.html

To summarise the article, $20\text{ mA}$ for $60\text{ Hz}$ causes "severe pain, difficulty breathing, loss of voluntary muscle control", whereas $20\text{ mA}$ for $10\text{ kHz}$ is in between "threshold of perception, and painful", but voluntary muscle control is maintained.

Thus, in general, low frequency AC is more dangerous than high frequency AC (when everything else is kept constant).

  • $\begingroup$ You mean low frequency AC is more dangerous ? $\endgroup$
    – stathisk
    Feb 17, 2014 at 4:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Zet My apologies, that is what I meant. $\endgroup$
    – Ruben
    Feb 17, 2014 at 7:41

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