What does it feel like to be shot? Fortunately, thanks to the marvels of material sciences, researchers don’t have to actually shoot a person to find this out: Ballistic gelatin has properties similar to the muscular tissue of pigs, which in turn is a good proxy for human tissue. Essentially, their viscosities and densities are all very similar, which means it handles being shot in a very similar way.
So, by extension, one could use this gel to ask another question: What does it look like to be electrocuted?
As luck would have it, an intrepid electrophile named Andy has recently been wondering what happens to ballistic gel when it encounters a powerful electrical current. Using a block of the translucent jelly-like substance, he demonstrates his ability to torture it across a series of loud and effervescent experiments on his YouTube channel Photonicinduction, all in the name of science.
Ballistic gel versus electricity. Photonicinduction via YouTube
Although he continuously ups the voltage of the electrical current throughout this particular video – and produces some spectacular fireworks as he does so – this doesn’t give the more scientifically inclined viewers enough information as to how dangerous the current actually is.
Voltage refers to the difference in charge between two points, and is just one of three main variables describing the physics of electrical currents. The amperes of the current describe the rate the charge is flowing from one point to the other, and the ohms value details how resistant the material is to the flow of charge. All three quantities are interrelated.
For an electrical current to do significant damage, it needs to be have both a high voltage and a high amperage. The higher the voltage, the lower the skin’s – or gel’s – resistance to the current will be. The higher the amperage of this current, the more the charge will be delivered to the target over a set time limit.
Now, young Skywalker… you will die. Photonicinduction via YouTube
So without knowing the amperage (or range of resistance) values of the ballistic gel, it cannot be properly compared to human skin or muscle at this point. Nevertheless, its fiery electrocution is unnervingly mesmerizing to watch.