Brilliant. So there's your 'well' for electrons.
I hadn't thought of a Leyden jar. Clever.
One of Franklin's favorite experiments was the "circle shock." To try this you need a circle of people holding hands and a charged Leyden Jar. Break the circle at one point and have one of the people with a free hand hold the bottom of the Leyden jar. Then have the other person with a free hand touch the top of the Leyden jar. If there is enough electricity in the Leyden jar, everyone in the circle will feel an electric shock! Be careful as large Leyden Jars can pack quite a wallop and knock you onto the floor. Anyone with a pacemaker should not be involved in a circle of shock experiment. The circle shock does teach you how electrical in nature we truly are.
..... franklin was easily amused. Here hold this! BZZZT.
Yikes! Never send a shock up one arm and down the other! It puts your heart in the path of the electricity, and there is a very good reason they shout "Clear!" to everyone when using defibrillators in medical dramas...
Not exaggerating here. Even a small shock can upset the heart rhythm, and if someone had any unsuspected heart problems they could die from it.
Leyden jars from film canisters are not too dangerous, but make them from something like a jam jar and they can be quite lethal, especially if charged from a static machine like a Van de Graaf generator.
I thought it was the amps that killed you - those shocks would only be in the milliamp range at most - no?
Your heart is basically both a muscle and a nerve. It expands and contracts by a cascading electrical pulse though the individual muscle cells. If you were to start an electrical pulse outside the normal rhythm you could cause the works to go out of sync; your heart just twitches instead of pumping blood and you die. You probably don't need a lot of amps to do that.
^^ I think it is something like .25-.5 amps directly over the heart.
"Leyden jars from film canisters are not too dangerous, but make them from something like a jam jar and they can be quite lethal, especially if charged from a static machine like a Van de Graaf generator."
This guy came to my junior high and did that with a whole circle of kids around the gymnasium.
He also had a tesla coil. He stood on a stool in a pie plate of water and wore gloves with metal finger tip points. He shot lightning from his fingers with the lights out while holding the tesla coil. Very cool.
I believe its around 50 mA. You get 50 mA through the heart at just the wrong time, and you can stop it.
Now, human skin has about 10 Megohms of resistance (when dry -- when wet it drops to like 200 ohms). So it can take some serious voltage to develop that much current through the heart.
However, a Leyden jar, charged up with a Van der Graaf generator, can hold several tens of thousands of volts. Not something you want to take chances with.
As a side note -- the high-voltage transformer in a TV can charge up to 30,000 volts -- but with not much current. However, if you touch that sucker, it can cause all of the muscles in your arm to contract quite quickly, strongly, painfully, and without control. You can get cut that way, and hurl the screwdriver in your hand across the room. Not to mention the blue cloud of cursing you'll find coming out of your mouth.