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ERIC Number: EJ1117839
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
Teaching Electric Fences: The Physics behind the Brainiac Video
Vollmer, Michael
Physics Teacher, v54 n8 p492-496 Nov 2016
In many states, electric fences are used to prevent animals from leaving a designated area, for example for grazing. They are quite well known by most students and can therefore serve as daily-life examples of electric circuits. Besides helping to grasp the ideas of Kirchhoff's laws for voltages and currents in circuits according to loop and junction rules, they can also serve as introduction to the topic of conduction of electricity by humans and respective effects (in contrast to electric fences, the latter can also be studied experimentally in the classroom). Here we provide background information on the circuit diagrams of electrical fences that also explains the so-called Brainiac YouTube videos on the topic. While electric fences are designed not to be dangerous to humans or animals due to the short duration of the electrical pulses, students and teachers are strongly discouraged from attempting to replicate the scenes enacted in the video.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A