Nav: Home

Biologist reaches into electric eel tank, comes out with equation to measure shocks

September 14, 2017

The shock from a young electric eel feels like accidentally touching a horse fence. A big one is more like getting tasered by nine of the devices at once.

Vanderbilt University researcher Ken Catania knows because he stuck his arm into a tank with small eel 10 times -- the only way to get accurate measurements of the circuit created by animal, arm and water. Measuring the shock from those interactions allowed him to solve an equation that he can extrapolate to measure the power released by bigger eels, which can grow to 8 feet or longer.

Catania, Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences, studies the neurobiology of predators and prey and last year proved the validity of a controversial 200-year-old account of eels leaping out of Amazonian waters to shock horses. But documenting their leaping ability left him wondering about the resistances and current for each component of an attack.

"It was definitely a good lesson in how efficient the electric eel would be at deterring a predator," said Catania, who worked with a 16-inch-long juvenile eel he affectionately named Finless. "Eels are essentially batteries immersed in water, and I wanted to solve the question of how powerful those batteries are. What's the internal resistance of the battery? What's the resistance of the water? My past research left out the last variable: my arm."

To close the circuit and get the measurement, he created a device that used copper wire to conduct the electricity from the shock to his arm back to the water, one of the methods documented in his paper "Power Transfer to a Human during an Electric Eel's Shocking Leap." It will be published in the Sept. 25 issue of Current Biology.

Catania said the research reminded him that there's always something more to learn about electric eels, even though they've been studied for 200 years.

"They're so much more sophisticated than we possibly could have imagined," he said. "This animal can generate hundreds of volts, but they've also evolved to very efficiently deliver that electricity."
-end-
Video

Vanderbilt University

Related Batteries Articles:

A seaweed derivative could be just what lithium-sulfur batteries need
Lithium-sulfur batteries have great potential as a low-cost, high-energy, energy source for both vehicle and grid applications.
Batteries from scrap metal
Chinese scientists have made good use of waste while finding an innovative solution to a technical problem by transforming rusty stainless steel mesh into electrodes with outstanding electrochemical properties that make them ideal for potassium-ion batteries.
Better cathode materials for lithium-sulphur-batteries
A team at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has for the first time fabricated a nanomaterial made from nanoparticles of a titanium oxide compound (Ti4O7) that is characterized by an extremely large surface area, and tested it as a cathode material in lithium-sulphur batteries.
Bright future for self-charging batteries
Who hasn't lived through the frustrating experience of being without a phone after forgetting to recharge it?
Making batteries from waste glass bottles
Researchers at the University of California, Riverside's Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries.
Batteries -- quick coatings
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are using the precision of an electron beam to instantly adhere cathode coatings for lithium-ion batteries -- a leap in efficiency that saves energy, reduces production and capital costs, and eliminates the use of toxic solvents.
Lighter, more efficient, safer lithium-ion batteries
Researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and the Council for Scientific Research (initialed CSIC in Spanish) have patented a method for making new ceramic electrodes for lithium-ion batteries that are more efficient, cheaper, more resistant and safer than conventional batteries.
Clarifying how lithium ions ferry around in rechargeable batteries
IBS scientists observe the real-time ultrafast bonding of lithium ions with the solvents, in the same process that happens during charging and discharging of lithium batteries, and conclude that a new theory is needed.
A new approach to improving lithium-sulfur batteries
Researchers from the University of Delaware and China's Northwestern Polytechnical University, Shenzhen University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University have demonstrated a new polysulfide entrapping strategy that greatly improves the cycle stability of Li-S batteries.
Looking for the next leap in rechargeable batteries
USC researchers may have just found a solution for one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the next wave of rechargeable batteries -- small enough for cellphones and powerful enough for cars.

Related Batteries Reading:

DIY Lithium Batteries: How to Build Your Own Battery Packs
by Micah Toll (Author)

Are you a hands on person? Do you prefer making things yourself? Are you working on a project that requires lithium batteries? If so, then this book is for you! We'll cover everything you need to know about lithium batteries. From choosing the right cells to designing a battery pack and building it yourself, this book includes all the steps for building safe, effective custom lithium battery packs. View Details


The Battery: How Portable Power Sparked a Technological Revolution
by Henry Schlesinger (Author)

“Henry Schlesinger is playful and intelligent and obscenely well read.” — Richard Zacks, author of The Pirate Hunter

"Henry Schlesinger’s fascinating and superbly researched history of the battery is the story of civilization as we know it." — Michael Belfiore, author of The Department of Mad Scientists

Henry Schlesinger’s The Battery is the first popular history of the technology that harnessed electricity and powered the greatest scientific and technological advances of our time. If you like Wired Magazine and popular science books,... View Details


Essentials of Cross-Battery Assessment
by Dawn P. Flanagan (Author), Samuel O. Ortiz (Author), Vincent C. Alfonso (Author), Alan S. Kaufman (Series Editor), Nadeen L. Kaufman (Series Editor)

The most up-to-date resource of comprehensive information for conducting cross-battery assessments

The Cross-Battery assessment approach—also referred to as the XBA approach—is a time-efficient assessment method grounded solidly in contemporary theory and research. The XBA approach systematically integrates data across cognitive, achievement, and neuropsychological batteries, enabling practitioners to expand their traditional assessments to more comprehensively address referral concerns. This approach also includes guidelines for identification of specific learning... View Details


Buddy's Bedtime Battery
by Christina Geist (Author), Tim Bowers (Illustrator)

It’s Buddy’s bedtime, but there’s just one problem—he’s decided that he’s a robot! His accommodating parents must now “power down” their little machine step by step, from his toes to his tushy. Tim Bowers’s bubbly illustrations capture Buddy’s energy and imagination, and parents and kids will enjoy adopting this new bedtime ritual into their own routines. View Details


Cross-Battery Assessment Software System 2.0 (X-BASS 2.0) Access Card
by Dawn P. Flanagan (Author), Samuel O. Ortiz (Author), Vincent C. Alfonso (Author)

The Cross-Battery Assessment Software System (X-BASS) 2.0 allows school psychologists and other assessment professionals access to efficient, expert analysis of cross-battery assessment findings.  It integrates the Cross-Battery Assessment Data Management and Interpretive Assistant, Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses Analyzer, and Culture-Language Interpretive Matrix into a single program, covering the latest revisions of major batteries, including the new WISC®-V, WJ IV®, KTEA(tm)-3, ChAMP, UNIT-2, RIAS-2, FAR, FAM, WISC®-V Integrated, WJV-IV ECAD, CELF®-5, CTOPP-2, CAS2,... View Details


The Electric Battery: Charging Forward to a Low-Carbon Future
by Kevin B. Jones (Author), Benjamin B. Jervey (Author), Matthew Roche (Author), Sara Barnowski (Author)

An easy-to-understand and engaging exploration of the battery's development across history that reveals current technological advances, celebrates the innovators who have led the charge forward, and shows how the electric battery represents the path to a low-carbon future.


• Demystifies the electric battery, explains how modern technology has overcome its historic limitations, and presents how this seemingly ordinary technology will enable a new era of sustainability for future generations

• Addresses a topic of growing interest among general readers as electric cars... View Details


Linden's Handbook of Batteries, 4th Edition
by Thomas Reddy (Author)

The most complete and up-to-date guide to battery technology and selection

Thoroughly revised throughout, Linden's Handbook of Batteries, Fourth Editions provides authoritative coverage of the characteristics, properties, and performance of every major battery type. New information on emerging battery systems and their applications is included in this definitive volume. International experts offer unparalleled technical guidance on using leading-edge technologies, materials, and methods in new designs and products, and selecting the most suitable battery for a particular... View Details


The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street)
by Karen White (Author)

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston in her fifth Tradd Street novel, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away...

 
With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than... View Details


Management Test Battery (MTB) (Passbooks)
by Passbooks (Author)

The Management Test Battery (MTB) Passbook® prepares you for your test by allowing you to take practice exams in the subjects you need to study. It provides hundreds of questions and answers in the areas that will likely be covered on your upcoming exam, including but not limited to: problem solving; interpersonal skills; human resource management; managerial decisions; staff interaction and management; and more. View Details


Supervisory Test Battery (STB) (Passbooks)
by Passbooks (Author)

The Supervisory Test Battery (STB) Passbook® prepares you for your test by allowing you to take practice exams in the subjects you need to study. It provides hundreds of questions and answers in the areas that will likely be covered on your upcoming exam, including but not limited to: problem solving; interpersonal skills; human resource management; managerial decisions; staff interaction and management; and more. View Details

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Peering Deeper Into Space
The past few years have ushered in an explosion of new discoveries about our universe. This hour, TED speakers explore the implications of these advances — and the lingering mysteries of the cosmos. Guests include theoretical physicist Allan Adams, planetary scientist Sara Seager, and astrophysicists Natasha Hurley-Walker and Jedidah Isler.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#461 Adhesives
This week we're discussing glue from two very different times. We speak with Dr. Jianyu Li about his research into a new type of medical adhesive. And Dr. Geeske Langejans explains her work making and investigating Stone Age and Paleolithic glues.