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could a van de graaf generator dry your hair?

the guy

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I would say, first of all, electricity and water don't mix. Water makes it easier for electricity to flow into you so the same electricity gives you a bigger kick.


However, if you are using a Van de Graaf generator, you are dealing with high voltage and relatively low amperage. It is the amps that kill, and furthermore you have to be insulated from the floor, so charging you up won't shock you until you are grounded. Electrically charging yourself will cause your hair to stand on end, which would help it dry. I think the charge will also cause some air flow which would also help your hair dry. The electric charge will slowly dissipate, and water vapor has a huge effect on this. My guess is that electric charge dissipation will help dry you as well. I have no idea how significant these effects would be.


A hair dryer uses both air flow and heat and seems to work very well and won't zap you.


If you have a lab, I suggest the following experiment. Get a dry towel, weigh it, moisten it, weigh it again. This will tell you the amount of water on the towel. Then, charge it up and see how long it takes to dry (weigh again to see how much water evaporated). Repeat without charging it. Be sure to account for both temperature and humidity (and air pressure if you want to be extra detailed).

Edited by Mr Skeptic
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Never joke like this. If the person gets killed, it will be your responsibility.


If you used a high enough current, yes. Given enough power (or enough heat dissipated from the hair), the water would eventually vaporise.


But having said that, bare in mind your body is also 65% water, and the power needed to heat your hair to near 100°C for the water to evaporate, would definitely kill you.


As clear cut as 'Bob_for_short' has put it, he is right. You do not mess around with Van de Graaf generators, especially with water. You have clearly been watching too many cartoons :P

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