'Human Flesh' Is No Match For 100,000 Volts of Electricity

Like a hot knife through soft butter.

by Sarah Emerson
Jun 1 2016, 5:23pm

GIF: YouTube

I never plan on feeling what 100,000 volts of electricity does to the body. But thanks to a fleshy material called ballistic gel and a couple of probes, I now know that when hit with that kind of voltage, human skin gets positively melty.

The folks over at YouTube channel Photonicinduction decided to test ballistic gel to its uppermost limits by subjecting it to increasingly higher forces of electricity. This easy-to-make synthetic gelatin is often used by law enforcement agencies to measure the effects of penetration by different types of ammunition. Because it's so dang similar to living human tissue, ballistic gel is even preferred for weapons testing over cadavers and animal parts.

But how does the human skin substitute stand up to 100,000 volts of electricity? For a little perspective, that's the voltage equivalent of certain super strong stun guns and also apparently the Thunderbolt attack move of Electric-type Pokémon. Police issued tasers produce pulses of around 50,000 volts.

And as you can see, our feeble skin is no match for that kind of power. Even at lower voltage levels, the probes seemed to cut right through the ballistic gel like a hot knife through butter. At the maximum 100,000 volts, the synthetic flesh was easily cooked away into a disturbing puddle of goo.

It's worth knowing that ballistic gel isn't a perfect human tissue replica, so what happened in this experiment wasn't an exact model of how our skin would react to electricity. While the gel is a close approximation of human skin's density and viscosity, it lacks other properties that would make it more life-like, such as nerves, vessels, blood, and bone.

As always, don't try this at home. But if you must, the fake flesh is sold in the Jell-O aisle.