electrocuting a plant

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electrocuting a plant

Postby ferret-animal » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:51 pm UTC

how would i go about doing this? i have thought of using an unplugged computer power supply and channeling the residual power. i don't need anything prolonged, just one shock to measure effects on the cells of the plant.

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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby ArgonV » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:41 pm UTC

Take a car battery and some jump leads, apply one to the top of the plant and one to the bottom of the plant? Might work.

What kind of shock (volt/amps) are you going for?

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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby olcaddy » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:30 pm UTC

I actually wanted to do something similar as a science fair project in middle school. My idea was to use use an electronic muscle stimulator like this
I was going to grow plants that were stimulated 24/7 or some other large time and compare with a control.
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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby ferret-animal » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:47 pm UTC

I am looking for a good shock. I don't know too much about amps, I think my spare psu has 15 amps. But I also like the idea of the car battery.

Also would a taser to anything?

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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby 0xDEADBEEF » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:58 pm UTC

Plants don't have a nervous system that is sensitive to electricity, but you can cook the cells just fine.

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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby Solt » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:29 pm UTC

Get a multimeter and use it to measure the resistance of the plant, then you can determine how much voltage you need to apply. Voltage = Current * Resistance. For reference, it takes about .07 A of current across the heart to kill a human.

Also, if you only apply voltage across the surface of the plant you probably won't get much current. I'd imagine it would be better to cut it open and get access to the hopefully ionic solutions in the stem and whatnot, dropping the resistance. But then again this method might not tell you much of interest, only that plants are full of salty fluid.

The procedure for actually electrocuting cells is probably different and more involved.
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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby Rentsy » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:50 am UTC

So, you apply VOLTAGE to a plant. Voltage is electrical potential energy.

Then, depending on how much RESISTANCE (Measured in ohms) the plant has (My guess: quite a bit), an amount of current (measured in amps) flows between the negative and positive voltage nodes.

[imath]Amps = \frac{Voltage}{Ohms}[/imath]

1. At a certain voltage, you might disrupt the machinery of the plant, and "electrocute" it.

2. At another voltage, you cook the plant.

3. At another voltage, the current will be so small that absolutely nothing will happen.

So, situation #1 is the only one we're not sure about, because #2 and #3 are sure-fire. You're looking for #1 - something interesting before you burn the damn thing.

Good hunting!

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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby Arancaytar » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:25 am UTC

What are you doing to that poor plant chlorophyll kitten, you heartless sadist! The PETP will get on your case.
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Re: electrocuting a plant

Postby meat.paste » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:18 pm UTC

It may be that nothing much happens. Certainly trees can take tens of amps with no ill effects (I've been awed by the sparks that fly when a tree hits a powerline. Other than localized burning, the tree is fine.) Trees can even take kiloamps and survive (lightning strikes).

In any case, I think a good experimental setup will require running the current through a needle (or other long, thin device) implanted into the main stem. The other electrode can go into the dirt. This should provide enough cells touching the electrode that any individual cell won't overheat and die (this will be a problem when clamping onto a leaf). My $0.02.
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