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Thread: Is the human body electrically neutral?

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    black-dragon's Avatar Sōkō no yari
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    Default Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Google won't give me a good answer So is the net electric charge in the human body neutral? Or is it just so small that we can't notice it in everyday life? I remember my physics lecturer saying that it was perfectly neutral ages ago, but it just doesn't seem very plausible to me. I mean, could every single cation in the body have another anion or electron to balance its charge? Just something that I'm curious about.
    Last edited by black-dragon; December 10, 2011 at 08:43 AM.
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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    I googled it, and the only answer I could find is a neutral charge. It came from the alternative medicine part of some site though (not exactly credible). Assuming the answer is correct though, it wouldn't be exactly neutral, it would fluctuate around it

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Negativity is the natural resting state of cells. It has to do with the ratio of sodiom and potassium, I can't remember the name for fit. When at rest there are more potassium ions inside the cell and more sodium ions outside the cell. There's not enough of an imbalance to generate electricity. When the cell needs to send a message, the cell membrane allows the sodium and potassium ions move freely and create an impulse. The impulse hits the next cell, which creates the flow.

    The answer is..it depends.

    http://www.nanomedicine.com/NMI/4.7.1.htm
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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Essentially all macroscopic bits of matter (including the human body) have a net neutral charge, they have to.

    The Electromagnetic force is roughly 10^40 times stronger than gravity so loose charged particles do not take long to hook onto something.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Philp View Post
    I googled it, and the only answer I could find is a neutral charge. It came from the alternative medicine part of some site though (not exactly credible). Assuming the answer is correct though, it wouldn't be exactly neutral, it would fluctuate around it
    Quote Originally Posted by Sphere View Post
    Essentially all macroscopic bits of matter (including the human body) have a net neutral charge, they have to.

    The Electromagnetic force is roughly 10^40 times stronger than gravity so loose charged particles do not take long to hook onto something.
    Since I'm stupid, I'm going to ask an obvious question Does the body spend more time in a perfectly neutral state, or in very slightly charged states near the equilibrium point?
    'If there is an ultimate meaning to existence, as I believe is the case, the answer is to be found within nature, not beyond it. The universe might indeed be a fix, but if so, it has fixed itself.' - Paul Davies, the guy that religious apologists always take out of context.

    Attention new-agers: I have a quantum loofah that you might be interested in.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Quote Originally Posted by black-dragon View Post
    Since I'm stupid, I'm going to ask an obvious question Does the body spend more time in a perfectly neutral state, or in very slightly charged states near the equilibrium point?
    Slightly charge, since all types of chemical reactions happen in our body in same time.
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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Since I'm stupid, I'm going to ask an obvious question Does the body spend more time in a perfectly neutral state, or in very slightly charged states near the equilibrium point?
    This question actually peaked my interest so I looked for some numbers.

    There are about 1.80x10^28 protons-electron pairs in the human body.

    When a person gets highly charged with static electricity, there are about 6 x 10 ^8 extra electrons on their body

    That means the typical ratio of electrons to protons in the human body is 1:1 +/-.00000000000000000003% (yes that should be the correct amount of zeros).

    But its all a matter of perspective. The amount of electromagnetic forces around us are immense, far beyond anything gravity is doing, but we don't really notice them because they are almost always cancelled out through the the formation of non-fundemental particles, atoms, molecules etc. So even when a tiny fraction of these forces are let lose for us to see (like electric arc) we are bedazzled.
    Last edited by Sphere; January 09, 2012 at 04:20 PM.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    If you can get enough people together holding hands they can power a lightbulb.
    The wheel is spinning, but the hamster is dead.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Thanks for the responses guys I think I've pretty much got the answer I was looking for.
    'If there is an ultimate meaning to existence, as I believe is the case, the answer is to be found within nature, not beyond it. The universe might indeed be a fix, but if so, it has fixed itself.' - Paul Davies, the guy that religious apologists always take out of context.

    Attention new-agers: I have a quantum loofah that you might be interested in.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    According to astrophysicist Samantha Carter and doctor Janet Frasier there's a small and constant electric current in humans.

    “The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice.”

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Quote Originally Posted by Helm View Post
    If you can get enough people together holding hands they can power a lightbulb.
    Not any regular neutral people no, a voltage must come from somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord of Lost Socks View Post
    According to astrophysicist Samantha Carter and doctor Janet Frasier there's a small and constant electric current in humans.
    There are LOADS of electric currents in humans.. the entire nerve system for example communicates thru electric currents.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?



    Well this guy is powering a battery.
    The wheel is spinning, but the hamster is dead.

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    Nikitn's Avatar Centurio Primus Ordine
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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    0,5V? Kind of ridiculous.

    Anyway the reasons is that the aluminium gives away electrons to copper ions in the wire. Ie the copper oxidizes the Aluminum.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_series The electro-negativity of Al is much smaller than that of Cu.
    Last edited by Nikitn; December 13, 2011 at 02:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Google won't give me a good answer So is the net electric charge in the human body neutral? Or is it just so small that we can't notice it in everyday life? I remember my physics lecturer saying that it was perfectly neutral ages ago, but it just doesn't seem very plausible to me. I mean, could every single cation in the body have another anion or electron to balance its charge? Just something that I'm curious about.
    Our bodies constantly have thousands of chemical reactions going on every millisecond but this will not change the overall charge. Charge is conserved in chemical reactions; electrical charge can neither be created nor destroyed.

    You can create areas of electrically positive and electrically negative charge if you put energy into a system: like pumping water up hill. This is called voltage / potential difference. Our cells do this all of the time by using stored energy to move ions across membranes, this allows these ions to be used to do work when they are allowed to flow back (mitochondria) or to transmit messages quickly (nerves).

    Then there is static electricity. You can move extra electrons onto, or off of, your clothes by rubbing them against things like balloons or car seats. This is electrically charged clothes, not electrically charged humans, and the electrons find a way to move so as to restore a neutral equilibrium the first chance they get.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    You know those screw drivers electrians use to see if a wire is live or not, with the little bulb in them: when I touch the end the bulb always lights up............am I a super hero and or villian?
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    O rly?
    Have you tried holding a light bulb in your teeth yet?
    If that doesn’t work I can think of some other places to put it.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    A neuron is at about -70 millivolts at rest. It peaks at about 45 mV when it fires off.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    Quote Originally Posted by black-dragon View Post
    Google won't give me a good answer So is the net electric charge in the human body neutral? Or is it just so small that we can't notice it in everyday life? I remember my physics lecturer saying that it was perfectly neutral ages ago, but it just doesn't seem very plausible to me. I mean, could every single cation in the body have another anion or electron to balance its charge? Just something that I'm curious about.
    Depends on the surfaces that you contact with. If you sit on my couch you're gonna be charged with electrons and the moment you touch the door knob you'll be neutral compared to the door knob.

    If you sit in vacuum and wait would your body produce a negative charge? I think it would but that's just a hunch.

    EDIT: Actually your question is wrong. All objects can be neutral. It's a matter of how well-grounded you are. Neutrality is not a trait but a status. There is internal friction in your body. As long as your heart beats, blood pumps, and your muscles contract there is friction inside your body that will produce a charge.
    Last edited by Setekh; January 08, 2012 at 03:28 AM.
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    Pili Posterior
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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    There's actually no supramolecular structure in the entire universe which ever has a neutral electric charge, unless it doesn't have any electrons in it.

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    Default Re: Is the human body electrically neutral?

    There's actually no supramolecular structure in the entire universe which ever has a neutral electric charge, unless it doesn't have any electrons in it.
    Nonsense. Take the electrons away and all the protons would give a massive net positive charge.

    Also, many particles have charge not just the electron and proton (the proton isn't even a fundamental particle). Even neutrons are made up of charged particles; ( 1-up quark (+2/3) and 2-down quarks (-1/3)) even though their net charge is zero (2/3- 2*1/3 = 0). That fact that quarks are so tightly bond together in a neutrons structure that we rarely see them in action, doesn't mean the charges aren't there.

    Quarks are fundamental charge carrying particles just the same as electrons. In a different universe we might be running our toasters with the movement of quarks instead instead of the movement of electrons.
    Last edited by Sphere; January 09, 2012 at 04:22 PM.

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