Episode 2: Conductors & Insulators

[ Music ] [ A large title appears: “Conductors & Insulators”. A smaller title appears under it: “Why are power cords…covered in plastic-like stuff?” ]

>> I want to know why power cords are all covered in that plastic stuff.

>> Okay, Robbie [phonetic], you ready? We’re about to roll.

>> Ready.

>> Lucy [phonetic], you ready?

>> Ready.

[ Jordan smiles, then hoists up a video camera and looks through the viewer as if about to start recording the other kids. ]

>> I’m ready too.

>> Okay. Action!

[ Music ] [ We see the scene as if looking through Jordan’s camera. Lucy prepares to plug in a CD player. Part of the cord is wrapped with scotch tape. Mackenzie goes to stop her. ]

>> Whoa! You can’t plug that in!

>> Why not?

>> It’s not insulated properly.

>> Huh?

>> The cord. See it?

>> Yeah, so I taped it.

>> Hello! Danger! It’s not insulated!

>> What are you talking about, McKenzie [phonetic]?

>> Bare wires are super dangerous. When you touch a bare wire you can get a major shock because there’s nothing protecting you from an open electrical circuit. Watch.

[ Mackenzie snaps her fingers and an electrical outlet with a cord plugged into it appears. ]

>> Power cords are covered with plastic-like insulation so the electricity can’t get out of its circuit.

[ The insulation on the outside of the cord disappears to show electricity flowing through the copper wires inside. ]

>> You see, electricity flows easily through metal wires inside the cord.

>> But it cannot flow through the insulation.

[ The insulation reappears, and a message appears next to it: “Insulator Protects You” ]

>> So the insulation here prevents electricity from touching you or anything else.

[ The outlet disappears. The girls are seen through the camera viewer again. ]

>> You’re going to need to get a new radio. This cord can hurt someone.

>> It’s really not a big deal. I’ve had it like that for a while and it’s been fine.

>> Did you know that the human body is 70 percent water?

>> Yes. Where are we going with this?

>> Because of all that water, your body is a great conductor for electricity.

[ A still image of Lucy appears with a message: “Your body can conduct electricity.” Water fills up about 70 percent of Lucy’s body. ]

>> Conductors are materials that electricity can flow through easily.

[ A headline appears: “Conductors”. A metal fork and a metal ladder appear., followed by a power line and an appliance power cord cut away to show the metal wires inside it. ]

>> Water and metal are good conductors, which is why metal wires are used for power lines and appliance power cords.

[ A man touches the power cord of a movie studio light. Electricity travels from the cord down through the man to the ground. A red flashing universal NO symbol appears. ]

>> So if you touch an energized wire or electric appliance, the electricity can travel through your body to the ground and give you a really nasty shock. You could even die by getting electrocuted.

[ A utility worker appears, wearing a hard hat and carrying gloves. ]

>> Oh, I get it. That’s why utility power line workers wear special insulating boots, gloves, and hard hats to protect them from electric shock.

>> Yep.

[ A still image appears showing two overloaded power strips plugged into the same electrical outlet. ]

>> Also, guys, remember that if you overload your power outlet with more gadgets than it can handle you can melt the insulation and even start a fire.

>> Well, I guess I’ll just have to sing for you.

>> It’s okay. You can have this.

[ Robbie hands Lucy a brand new CD player. ]

>> Thanks.

[ Jordan puts down his camera. ]

>> And that’s a wrap! Good one, Lucy. McKenzie, I think we made our point here.

>> So now we know why you never ever, ever…

>> not ever…

>> and not even after that…

>> overload an outlet or use a power cord that’s not properly insulated.

>> Yeah, otherwise…

>> you’re toast!

[ Music ] [ Culver logo and “copyright 2009 Culver Media, LLC” appear, followed by credits. ]