Wall Tap Mystery



  • There's an old wall tap and basin at my school. Next to it on the wall is a liquid soap container made of plastic. If you

    1. Wet your hand
    2. Put soap on your hand
    3. Try washing the soap down

    you'll experience tiny electric shocks on your hands while it's under the water. It doesn't happen without the soap. How can this be?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @marczellm said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    There's an old wall tap and basin at my school. Next to it on the wall is a liquid soap container made of plastic. If you

    1. Wet your hand
    2. Put soap on your hand
    3. Try washing the soap down

    you'll experience tiny electric shocks on your hands while it's under the water. It doesn't happen without the soap. How can this be?

    My hunch is that it's some sort of reaction between the soap and the water.



  • There is some leakage into the pipework and the soap decreases skin resistance by removing the oils? Have you got a multimeter that does uA?



  • @marczellm said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    you'll experience tiny electric shocks on your hands while it's under the water. It doesn't happen without the soap. How can this be?

    The soap increases the salinity of the water, reducing its electrical resistance, and enabling a stronger current to pass through it. The difference is minute, but enough to be felt.


  • sockdevs

    @marczellm said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    you'll experience tiny electric shocks on your hands while it's under the water.

    i think it's time to stop using that tap......



  • "I don't get electric shocks without soap" is not the biggest issue regarding this tap...



  • The soap is made of electrons, and flowing water gets them moving, which you feel as an electric shock



  • My radiator sometimes gives me tiny electric shocks too if I touch it.

    ...I should probably investigate this a bit more one day



  • @loopback0 said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    "I don't get electric shocks without soap"

    Just add a cable from a DC source to the tap and then the shocks will happen more consistently.

    That will be $2,000 in consultation fees.



  • @accalia said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    i think it's time to stop using that tap......

    @loopback0 said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    "I don't get electric shocks without soap" is not the biggest issue regarding this tap...

    @anonymous234 said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    My radiator sometimes gives me tiny electric shocks too if I touch it.
    ...I should probably investigate this a bit more one day

    Could just be a static build-up discharging.



  • @hungrier said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    The soap is made of electrons, and flowing water gets them moving, which you feel as an electric shock

    I hope this wasn't meant seriously. Both the chemist and the physicist in me died a little reading that. :(



  • @Rhywden What about your inner biologist?



  • Once when I visited Mexico, we had a shower with a black tank above the shower shed to heat the water solarlysolarishwith solar energy. That meant that early morning showers would be ice cold, but early evening showers could be warmish. (The girls in the group got the shower in the morning; the guys got it in the evening, after working in the sun all day {except siesta time, when it's too hot to work, so no one does}.)

    Anyways...
    The shower also had an "electric instant heater" attached to the showerhead with a bare electric wire. The recommended procedure was to turn on the heater, turn on the water, get wet, turn off the water, lather up, turn on the water, rinse off, turn off the water, and turn off the heater. If I happened to touch the showerhead (about 5' above the floor, and I'm a hair short of 6' tall) or the wire while the water was on, I could feel the electrical current humming through my body, which was pretty scary when I accidentally backed into either one while rinsing off.



  • @hungrier said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    The soap is made of electrons, and flowing water gets them moving, which you feel as an electric shock

    Did you know that when you touch something, it's electric repulsion between its electrons and yours that make it solid and allow you to feel it?

    Everything you feel is via electric shock.



  • @mott555 I saw an interview with Richard Feynman where he went into that.



  • @djls45
    Suicide showers. I bumped into those in Brazil. My assumption was that the last person wasn't killed, so I could just shower quickly then GTFO.
    Inside a heated shower head. (suicide shower) – 13:12
    — bigclivedotcom



  • @marczellm

    You could measure the AC voltage between the Tap and Ground using a multimeter, the problem is finding a reliable ground point for the multimeter.

    At first try, put one multimeter probe on tap (and tap water) and if there is a metal cased electrical hand dryer, the other probe on an exposed bare metal screw head.
    The assumption here is what ever is making the tap energised is on a different 'circuit' then the hand dryer. If they are on the same circuit, there is a chance that the ground on both the tap and the ground on the hand dryer is on the same potential, in which case the multimeter reads near 0V. If this is the case see if soapy hands get a tingle from the hand dryer exposed metal parts.



  • @accalia said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    @marczellm said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    you'll experience tiny electric shocks on your hands while it's under the water.

    i think it's time to stop using that tap......

    0_1484080791081_water-coming-out-of-electric-outlets-.jpg


  • sockdevs

    @El_Heffe said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    @accalia said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    @marczellm said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    you'll experience tiny electric shocks on your hands while it's under the water.

    i think it's time to stop using that tap......

    0_1484080791081_water-coming-out-of-electric-outlets-.jpg

    a good sign that is not.



  • @mott555 said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    Did you know that when you touch something, it's electric repulsion between its electrons and yours that make it solid and allow you to feel it?

    It's rather more quantum than that, actually. It is the Pauli Exclusion Principle, the source of electron degeneracy pressure, which in turn is the thing that stops white dwarf stars from collapsing into neutron stars.(1)

    Apparently.

    According to the Unreliable Source.

    (1) A related phenomenon, but acting between neutrons, is what stops neutron stars from collapsing into black holes.



  • @El_Heffe said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    @accalia said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    @marczellm said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    you'll experience tiny electric shocks on your hands while it's under the water.

    i think it's time to stop using that tap......

    0_1484080791081_water-coming-out-of-electric-outlets-.jpg

    (permalink cause onebox is dumb)


  • Impossible Mission - B

    @Rhywden said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    @hungrier said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    The soap is made of electrons, and flowing water gets them moving, which you feel as an electric shock

    I hope this wasn't meant seriously. Both the chemist and the physicist in me died a little reading that. :(

    Well, it's also made of protons and neutrons. They generally want to stay where they are instead of flowing like electrons do, but the water washes them off and they flow away. You have to be careful, though; if you make the protons flow too fast in a direction they don't want to go, you can get a real nasty shock, and even end up exploding! It's what they call "total protonic reversal."


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Rhywden said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    the chemist and the physicist in me

    :giggity:



  • @Helix said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    Suicide showers.

    That thing is terrifying.





  • @JBert said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    Here's a portable version:

    Look at all the hydrogen! That thing could be a lot of fun! And by fun, I mean dangerously explosive! Yay!



  • @djls45 said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    The shower also had an "electric instant heater” attached to the showerhead with a bare electric wire.



  • @Gurth 5500w on 110v on that wire? I wouldn't go over 10A on that. In a dry room.



  • @PleegWat said in Wall Tap Mystery:

    @Gurth 5500w on 110v on that wire? I wouldn't go over 10A on that. In a dry room.

    You'll be glad about every bit of voltage drop you can get before it passes through you :grimacing:
    I stayed at a hostel in Ecuador a couple of times where you got a pretty strong shock if you stood under the shower and touched the metal faucet. I let the staff know, and next time I got the same room they had fixed™ it: by wrapping the faucet handle with insulating tape.
    That was about when I stopped bitching about the impractically fat wires you need for 110V systems.


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