A character of mine is able to heat himself up to extreme temperatures (with required secondary powers to both survive and avoid completely destroy everything in a certain radius around him). I also heard different materials have their conductivity changed based on temperature.

What would be the effects of repeated lightning strikes if

a) He can only heat himself up to fractions of said lightning strikes

b) He can match the temperature and/or surpass the lightnings' temperature

c) He is immune to heat-based damage no matter how high

The reason I am asking is if heating the human body somehow increases conductivity, the current from the strike will just flow through the person and pass harmlessly through.

Edit: If the air around him heats the plasma and one of the required secondary powers involve him moving oxygen to himself to breathe, will the above question be meaningless since plasma conducts electricity well.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Trying to deal with super-powers in a science-based way is normally futile. You can safely assume that anything in superhero comics that uses scientific-looking terminology is wrong, and so is anything you feel you've learnt from them. $\endgroup$ Oct 26 '16 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Would a better way to word it be 'how can a person with the power to increase body heat to extreme temperatures apply his power to avoid damage from lightning strikes?' $\endgroup$ Oct 26 '16 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Well, you need to explain how he survives that extreme temperature, without cooking alive, boiling away, and so on. The ways in which that happens are likely to make a difference to his ability to do other things. $\endgroup$ Oct 26 '16 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ ...hand waving is probably better at this point then... closed thread? $\endgroup$ Oct 26 '16 at 21:41

The reason I am asking is if heating the human body somehow increases conductivity, the current from the strike will just flow through the person and pass harmlessly through.

You would find this to be untrue. Increasing conductivity does not cause current to stop flowing. In fact, it makes it easier for current to flow. Increasing conductivity will increase how much current flows from this individual's head to his feet. Of course, we can also reasonably ignore this effect due to series resistance. Your lightning bolt has traveled for miles through the air. Changing the resistance of the last few feet isn't going to change the thousands of amps in a lightning bolt.

The human heart is sensitive to electric shock. We have found that the best measure of how deadly a shock is is the current across the heart. 0.1A is pretty much a guaranteed death, no matter how heat resistant your hero is. Lightning strikes easily reach 30000.0A, so your hero is pretty much finished.

If anything, you would want a material which decreases conductivity with heat. That would encourage the lightning to arc around the hero instead of through him. I am unaware of any material with this property, though I won't claim they don't exist.


Yes, then No.

Normally, heating an object decreases its conductivity (with special exceptions), not involving humans.

However, up until about 99 degrees Celsius, the human body decreases it's resistance.
Why? Sweat.
Sweat is a great conductor, much better than silly lipids and proteins. as long as your character is nice and sweaty, they can conduct hundreds of times better.

After 99 degrees, the sweat boils off, and the resistance of the body becomes much closer to infinite than finite for every degree risen.


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