A question about Titanium and wedding bands. Could this happen?

Oops, I’d better cancel that attempt to sneak into the girl’s locker room then.

P.s. I have a titanium wedding ring and I’ve never been electrocuted.

Well, I can’t find any electrocutions, but I can offer you a few severe burns:



plus I found an anecdote from deja news where the finger was actually lost.
These cases all involved a 12 or 24 volt car battery where the unfortunate victim completed a circuit between the positive and the ground (via a wrench or jumper cable). The current was through the ring, causing severe burns. Up the voltage to 120 Volts or higher and you won’t have to be in contact with the ground to complete a circuit. So the electrocution scenario is certainly plausible.

Not a ring, but when I was younger (and dumber) I once did a little impromptu arc welding with a metal watch band. Only a really fast flinch reflex saved me from some very severe burns.
Now I do not wear rings when I work on cars, and if I wear a watch it is a plastic cased diver’s watch.

I realized right after I hit “Submit” that this reply was inappropriate for GQ, and indeed not the foot I want to put forward in any forum. I reported my own post to the moderators, and was advised to apologize here. Again, please accept my apologies.

Carry on.

Flesh is a moderate conductor, with complex voltage- and frequency- dependdent properties. The fairly dry (technically dead) epidermis is a moderate insulator, but thin. The underlying dermis contains enough intracellular fluid and dissolved solutes to be a fairly good conductor. The variable layer of subdermal fat is a somewhat better insulator than the dermis over it (and the muscle under it) but generally not as good as the dry epidermis. The underlying muscle is a moderately good conductor. All this is complicated by the network of vessels, neuronal axons which do not conduct as wires do, but are still conduits of ionized liquid)

All in all, it’s a complicated mix of capacitance, frequency dependent ‘skin effect’ (a term that relates to the tedency of high frequencies to flow more near the surface of conductors vs. the core, physiologic reactions, and other effects. Use a simple DC ohmmeter to measure the resistance between two points on your skin, and you’re likely to find that the resistance is almost identical (often ca 30-50 kiloohms) whether the probes are place a centimeter or a meter apart. This is not what one would expect from the simple bulk conductors. It also doesn’t represent the effective resistance and reactance at high frequencies (like the leading edge of a spark) and high voltages.

I do not have a specific cite, but there are several ways that a metal ring might assist an electrocution. Its outer metal surface could create a good electrical contact with the source of the current, and the inner surface would create a large, fairly good contact over a greater area than most casual contacts would produce. The skin under the ring may be prone to be poist, or even sweaty.

Not wearing conductive jewelry is a standard safety suggestion when working with larger currents or voltages. Rings and wristwatches can also heat noticeably by magnetic induction, as well as conduction.

I’ve had a few “zaps” working with electronics in various settings, and metal-on-metal shocks are very different from metal to flesh contacts. I’ve seen a few such injuries in a medical office or ER setting, as well, but no (near-)electrocutions involving jewelry that I can recall. I’ve heard stories, but a hospital breeds urban legends at least as much as a ny other setting.

I hope someone can provide a cite (i’m not set up to do literature searches on this computer, and I’m to lazy to set it up now, though it would probably be useful in the long term), but I wouldn’t be surprised if good cites (vs. a passing reference) are rare because a good article would require that a physician and the editors of a medical journal find the anecdote surprising and instructive enough to write up and publish. Also, you specified electrocutions, not burns and lesser injuries, which narrows the field

Looking at such an injury, it usually seems common-sensical. It’s akin to the reason why (AFAIK) no good clinical studies have been done to prove a tourniquet is more efficacious than placebo in preventing severe acute blood loss after an injury.

I don’t present this as “evidence”. It isn’t. I do hope that this information assists consideration of the topic.

Still no cite for the electrocution, but my cousin lost his ring finger while doing his weekend Army Reserve duty. His was jumping out the back of a truck when his wedding ring got caught on the gate latch.

Slight hijack.

So why buy a diamond ring as well. It has literally no resale value. At least when you buy a new car and drive it off the lot, the immediate resale value isn’t pennies on the dollar compared to a diamond ring.

Been there, done that. Titanium is no mythical metal, and a Dremel or even a good set of tempered Black Diamong edge-cutters will snap right through something like a wedding ring.

They sure do. I love the hype that jeweler make about platinum. I cannot count the number that told me, verbatum, “Platinum is the HARDEST METAL KNOWN TO MAN.” :rolleyes:

Now, if he went for one of those adamantium rings, then he would be in for a world of trouble.

When I first read “Titanium isn’t that cheap” I took it to mean the dealer is trying to sell him a bill of goods. Like how Titanium is better than Gold or Platinum. See it is stronger and worth more…Thus jacking up the price ala Diamonds and DeBeers.