Back around 2010, there were incidents where the surface of laptops have conducted 20-100V and have electrically shocked users. There is no doubt most of the newer laptops still conduct a continuous current on the surface (not static), though probably a smaller voltage. This is most prevailant with apple macbooks, and any dell laptop today.
I have had an intermediate training in physics but still struggle to understand this overall problem. I would like to attempt to make this thread helpful for people with the same struggles, and increase awareness.
Firstly, I cannot find any example of a plastic laptop shocking people. It is a 'common fact' that plastic does not conduct. And yet there are sources saying that anything can conduct given enough voltage. This begs a few simple questions. Is it significantly safer/more comfortable to use a plastic laptop? What kind of voltage would be conducted along plastic if 20V or 230V was behind it? What if 0.35mA was behind it (the typical current leakage of a macbook)?
Secondly, I have measured 1V AC from the surface of my hardwood floorboards relative to the soil outside. How can that be explained, or even quantified?
PS: Those who are electrosensitive have been known to measure their 'body voltage' and found that it increases as they touch or put their hand near laptops without touching it. Since conduction most likely requires contact without arcing to occur, I would say body voltages are not relevant here. The phenomena can possibly be explained by the highly electrical nature of the body, work done by an indian scientist many years ago and the relationship between current and EM fields.