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Electrical Wiring in the Home/Using Electrical Wire to Heat Metal


Hey Robert,

         I'm willing to bet this is one of the stranger questions you've been asked recently. First, a bit of context. I'm a screenwriter currently adapting a spy novel for the big screen. I was hoping you could help with a scene.

As briefly as possible, my Spy character is confined to a hotel room. To ensure no-one sneaks into the room, he tied dental floss (the only thing available in the room) to the door handle. The other end to his wrist. That way, as he sleeps, if anyone opens the door it will tug at his arm.

But for the story, someone needs to get into the room. My first thought is if the person outside could somehow heat the other side of the metal door handle hot enough, it could burn through the dental floss tied to the handle on the other side.

This is where my question comes in.

First of all, within the confines of movie logic, is this possible? Could heating one side effect (conduct to) the other side.

I have to take into account that the person trying to get in is acting on instinct so only has whatever might be in a hotel hallway at the time. So my thought is, they could cut the wire to a lamp and coil it to heat the metal handle. Would that work? Would it get hot enough to burn though the floss on the other side? If not, is there anything else that could be used?

I know this question is a bit out of left field but with the connection to Electrical Wiring I hoped it would still apply. Any help would be greatly appreciated.



what fun!

the problem is that hotel doors open in, so it would be difficult to impossible to rely on door opening to alert sleeper to intrusion.
also, circuit protective device [breaker/fuse] would respond long before sufficient heat would be generated at door knob to burn thru floss.....

also...power sources in public areas are rare....

...and why would intruder preemptively assume dental floss was attached to the doorknob?

would love to chat, call...

I like to play....
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Robert Wilber


Licensed Philadelphia electrician serving Delaware, Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania. I install and repair residential, commercial and industrial wiring and lighting. Troubleshooting and repair of problems that stump other people is my favorite. I am willing to help people figure out why things don`t work. I understand motor controls, transformers and machine wiring. I do not teach basics to novices or do free design work.


Experience in the area I have 44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair, 480 volts and below. This is not to be confused with one week repeated two thousand times.

44 years experience in residential, commercial and industrial electrical construction and repair

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