The Skin Effect Myth

It is a very common belief that Tesla Currents won't harm you if you touch a Tesla Coil, because of the so called Skin Effect. This is not true! The Skin Effect is connected with the specific restistance of a electric conductor. The electric charges penetrate the deeper into a conductor the lower the frequency and the higher the specific resistance. At Tesla frequencies the charges penetrate several cm into a human body (see here for details). The reason why you don't get an electrical shock is that the nerves can't react at such high frequencies. But the electrical power is nevertheless absorbed by your body. This probably won't hurt at 100-200 Watt output, but touching a large coil will "fry" your nerves internally.

Another risc is an arc from the primary to the secondary coil which would connect you to the really hurting and lethal currents in the primary circuit.

So don't touch a running Tesla Coil unless you really know what you are doing! And don't blame anyone if it zapped you though, you have been warned!

Created by Christoph Baumann Sep 1999
Last change: Mar 5 2005


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