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Essay on what materials are best at shielding electromagnetic pulses

  1. Mar 17, 2013 #1
    So I am in the IB, and I have to do an extended essay. I'm doing it in physics, and I'm looking at the topic "What materials offer the best shielding against an electromagnetic pulse (EMP)?"

    I was thinking of measuring the electromagnetic pulse using an oscilloscope. The reason I want to test this , is because I've always been fascinated how an electromagnetic pulse can destroy electronics, and I thought about how it may be useful in terms of warfare (not that I condone it or anything) or something else. For example, nuclear weapons can produce EMPs, and they have in the past and people have lost power (this happened in Hawaii a while back).

    Could you guys offer any help and maybe some tips on how to set up my experiment? Where could I get the materials to shield the EMP? How large of a capacitor (assuming I need one) and what other materials would I need?

    I was thinking I could take some readings from the EMP from the oscilloscope without a barrier, and then, I could use a barrier of some sort or surround the oscilloscope with a material and see how the readings change.

    I was thinking this could be useful because it be would be beneficial to know the material that best shields the pulse.

    Any advice or tips please?
    Safety tips would be very helpful as well :)
    Any other suggestions on what I could look at after my experiment (like the actual theory, the math behind it, applications? etc)

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2013 #2


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    It is clear that you are asking "cold" questions without having made an effort to research your topic. This is frowned upon here at PF. You have really missed the point about the EMP. It is not a capacitor and will not be simulated by a circuit. It is an extremely intense pulse of electromagnetic radiation. You should therefore shift your thinking to shielding wide-band radio waves.

    Please visit your local university library and search materials on the web. Once you have a clear understanding of your project and its principles, we can help you with a specific question.
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