David Blaine spent 3 days and nights wearing a chainmail bodysuit designed to protect him from standing in the middle of a million volts of streaming current from 7 tesla coils. The feat was announced as Electrified: One Million Volts Always On. Why was this feat safe? This article will explain.
The event occurred on Manhattan’s Pier 54 located on the West Side of town. It concluded safely for Blaine on Monday, October 8, 2012. People from a number of foreign countries viewed the event. Examples of the foreign venues included Beijing, Tokyo, Sydney and London. Previously, Blaine rehearsed the event with a lower voltage.
Blaine has survived each previous daredevil event to emerge unscathed for a growing entourage of loyal fans. This time, the event required fasting to clear his body of all wastes. In addition, tubes were available to provide water and to eliminate waste over the pendency of this spectacular three day event.
Blaine wore a chainmail suit or faraday suit which acted as a barrier between his body and the electric current. The behavior of an enclosed conductor when placed in an electric field is such that, charges will be fairly distributed along the periphery of the conductor. An opposing field is created within the conductor. The opposing field cancels or negates the external field leaving the interior of the conductor essentially devoid of any electrical field.
At bottom, this aspect of the faraday suit made the experiment safe for Blaine. In addition, he wore a wire helmet, a visor to protect the eyes and protection for the ears. Scientists were concerned solely about whether or not the chainmail suit would decompose from the elements. In this case, the chainmail suit held up.
Otherwise, the experiment was deemed to be safe as far as the electrical component. Physically, Blaine was required to stand for three days. During this time, the likelihood of circulation problems increased due to the lack of mobility.
Blaine’s experiment has implications for protecting people who work in a setting
where there are high volts and danger to the skin from exposure. In addition,
OSHA requirements for wearing safe clothing exist to protect workers from harm.
Although this experiment was entertaining, novices should not attempt to recreate it because the scientific precautions to protect the participant from harm are considerable.