How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 225

If you have more volts is it more energy (like a stun gun—is it better to have one with more current or volts or both)?
Volts is a measure of energy per charge. Thus if you tell me how much charge you have and the voltage of that charge, I can tell you have much energy that charge contains. I simply multiply the voltage by the amount of charge. Current is a measure of how many charges are moving through a wire each second. If you tell me how much current a wire is carrying and for how long that current flows, I can tell you how much charge has gone by. I just multiply the current by the time. To figure out how much energy electricity delivers to something (such as a person zapped by a stun gun), I need to know the voltage, the current, and the time. If I multiply all three together, the product is the energy delivered. In a stun gun, the voltage is important because skin is insulating and it takes high voltage to push charge through skin and into a person's body. But current is also important because the more charge that passes by, the more energy it will carry. And time is important because the longer the current flows, the more energy it delivers. So all voltage and current are both important. I can't guess which one is most important.

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