Question by Amy C: Why did my mother’s skin feel electric in a train station?
My mum and I were stood on the platform, directly beneath one of the overhead wires, and when she touched my face, it made a buzzing noise and felt like an electric shaver. I touched hers and it did the same, but neither of us could feel it when we touched our own skin. When the train pulled into the station, the effect disappeared. Why did this occur?
Answer by dvandom
The wires carry a lot of electrical current, which is alternating current. This creates an alternating electrical field, which will make nearby conductors get a current as well. Human flesh is enough of a conductor that a small current was induced, “buzzing” at the same frequency as the overhead line (60Hz in America, 50Hz in some other parts of the world).
When the train arrived, having a huge conductor nearby bent most of the electric field lines onto the train and away from you. You probably still had a small current being induced, but it was reduced to being too small to feel.
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