UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
what happens if a flashlight lands in water? If you put your hand in it what will happen?
Question Date: 2003-06-03
Answer 1:

What happens will depend on whether it is a waterproof flashlight.

Most sources of water are electric conductors, containing enough dissolved salts (even tap water) to conduct electricity. As a result, any electrical appliance, including a flashlight, can be shorted out if put in water.

Being in water when an appliance falls into that water and shorts out can be dangerous: blood is a better conductor even than tap water, and the electric current can use our bodies to conduct through. The electronics in a flashlight, however, is surrounded by a casing, which is not connected to the wiring. Even if the circuits are still dangerous, the casing is not, and it would be safe to pick up. If the casing is water-tight, then water cannot get inside the flashlight where the circuits are. Not only will it be safe to pick up, but it will still work.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use