Can 3,000 DC volts kill you?
The answer to your question is not straightforward, as there are many factors that affect the lethality of an electric shock, such as the current, the duration, the path of the current through the body, and the resistance of the skin and internal organs. However, some general guidelines can be given:
1- Voltage is the potential difference that causes an electric current to flow. The higher the voltage, the more likely it is to overcome the resistance of the skin and cause a shock. However, voltage alone does not determine the severity of a shock. For example, static electricity discharges can reach tens of thousands of volts, but they are usually harmless because they have very low current and duration¹.
2- Current is the rate of flow of electric charge. The higher the current, the more damage it can cause to the tissues and organs. Current is measured in amperes (A) or milliamperes (mA). According to some sources, currents below 1 mA are usually not perceptible, currents between 1 and 10 mA can cause tingling or pain, currents between 10 and 100 mA can cause muscle contractions or paralysis, and currents above 100 mA can cause ventricular fibrillation (a potentially fatal heart rhythm disturbance) or cardiac arrest²⁴.
Duration is the length of time that the current flows through the body. The longer the duration, the more damage it can cause. For example, a brief exposure to a high-voltage line may not be fatal if the current is interrupted quickly, while a prolonged exposure to a low-voltage source may be lethal if the current persists⁴.
Path is the route that the current takes through the body. The most dangerous path is one that passes through vital organs, especially the heart or brain. For example, a shock from hand to hand or from head to foot may be more likely to cause death than a shock from hand to foot or from arm to leg⁴.
3- Resistance is the opposition to the flow of current. The higher the resistance, the lower the current. Resistance depends on several factors, such as the type and condition of the skin, the moisture level, and the cross-sectional area of contact. For example, dry skin has a higher resistance than wet skin, and a small contact area has a higher resistance than a large contact area⁴.
Based on these factors, it is possible to estimate that 3,000 DC volts could kill you if it produces a current of more than 100 mA through your heart for more than a few seconds. However, this is only an approximation, as different people may have different levels of susceptibility and tolerance to electric shocks. Therefore, it is best to avoid any contact with high-voltage sources and follow safety precautions when working with electricity