Which is more dangerous AC or DC current?

Which is more dangerous ac or dc current
4 mins read

Do you ever have an electrical shock?

Well, many of us have the mindset that DC current is additionally dangerous than AC current. To search out which is more dangerous, ac or dc current let us go to fundamentals of AC current and DC current.


AC Current

An AC flows in sine wave (as shown within the figure below) pattern. This switches direction back and forth. You may locate an alternating current in domestic appliances, lighting fixtures etc.


DC Current

Direct current flows in just one direction (shown below). You can locate direct current in batteries, battery chargers, electronics circuits etc.


Factors affecting Severity of an Electrical shock

Let me tell you that except the sort of current, the severity of an electrical shock depends on different factors conjointly. Such as,

  • The amount of current

    For example, an electrical shock with an AC of fifteen to twenty mill amperes is often          extraordinarily painful. However, an electrical shock with one hundred mill amperes            could cause death.


  • The path of current

    The current passing from the right hand to the right leg is often painful. However, once it passes from right hand to left hand through the heart may cause fibrillation of heart muscles resulting in interference with rhythmic contraction of the ventricles. This possibly leads to cardiac arrest that usually causes a fatality.    


  • Time duration:

    An electric shock with a tiny, low quantity of current say; 0.3 milliamperes may cause painful impact if a person holds it for a longer period.


  • Body Resistance:

    The resistance offered by the wet body to electrical shock is a smaller amount as compared to the dry body.


Why will the physical body feel an electrical shock?

This is quite fascinating to grasp. This penetrates within the body through the skin. The outmost layer of skin stratum consists of material known as scleroprotein (an insoluble structural protein such as keratin). Scleroprotein offers the best resistance to the passage of electricity. Beneath the protein layer, we’ve sweat glands and blood vessels. These sweat glands and blood vessels represent varied ions, which are an honest conductor of electricity. Therefore, blood vessels and sweat glands supply low resistance to the passage of power.


Well, a nerve-stretching question arises in our mind that how current reaches and travels through the body.

Answering the query, the outmost layer of skin stratum acts as an insulator, the internal sweat glands and tissues acts like one plate of the electrical condenser and conductor carrying current acts like another plate of the electrical condenser. Because of this capacitive-effect, current passes via the body. Quickly dynamical voltage permits additional current passing through the body.

Which is more dangerous AC or DC current?

Arguments are there in favor of each AC current and DC current. These arguments are based on people who got shocked with both the types of currents.

The argument in favor of DC current

Victims who have experienced the electrical shock with DC current says that they’re unable to tug their hand back as a result of DC current flows incessantly. This impact is analogous to an electrical buzzer equipped DC current. Therefore, it is far believed that the direct current shock is extra risky.

Whereas, within the case of AC current, the individual experiencing the electrical shock is able to tug their hand back because the current goes to zero. Hence, it is believed that the alternating current shock is less risky than direct current.

The argument in favor of AC current

When the person is experiencing an electrical shock, the main target of that person is to induce eliminate it and save a life. What is happening internally to the muscles cannot be noted.

In accordance with reports of Charles Dalziel experiments on human beings, muscular tissues contraction is continuous just in case of an electrical shock with DC current. Whereas within the case of AC current, someone experiencing electrical shock undergoes a series of muscular contraction. Series of muscular contraction causes terribly severe injury to the muscles.

Due to the electrical phenomenon behavior of the skin coming back in grips with this carrying conductor, additional current will have the body if the voltage is quickly dynamical. Studies have shown that twofold of increase within the voltage will increase septuple increase within the current.

DC current “let-go” threshold is beyond the AC “let-go” threshold. Additional DC current is needed to provide the same impact as of AC current.

These arguments do not seem to be solely primarily based upon experiments being dispensed on men and girls however even have been studied medically. Hence, the argument in favor of AC current holds reality.


Now, it can be concluded that AC Current is additional dangerous than DC Current. Well, one shouldn’t be petrified of electricity however one should keep in mind that each AC current and DC current are often dangerous to the physical body and safety measures should be taken into the thought once operating with any of them.

Next articleHow a Contactor Works?
Krunal Shah
Krunal Shah is Electrical and Electronics Engineer with almost 12 years of experience in corporate in relevant field before starting Engineers Hub. He loves to share his experience and knowledge and that makes him a passionate educator and career-counselor also. Along with Engineers Hub he also runs Subodh Tech Private Limited where he is involved in providing job-oriented training and Engineering Consultancy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here