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Homework Help: Massive electromagnetic charge - hypothetical for author

  1. Nov 11, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Hello, I'm an author trying to work out (hypothetically) what the consequences, to humans, computer equipment etc) would be if a massive electromagnetic charge were to occur in a confined room?

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I have established that at room temperature, it takes a relatively sizeable magnetic charge to erase the state of stored data on a disk so it can be changed. But as the temperature in the vicinity rises, the amount of charge required decreases. If you heat a metal up just enough, to the Curie temperature, it loses its magnetism altogether. So I assume at a high enough temp data /computer hard drives would be erased.

    But I can't find any suggestion as to what would happen to a person in the presence of an extremely large electromagnetic field. What level of field would have a physiological impact on a person's senses?

    Apologies for the minimal understanding of physics here, I realise I am among experts and therefore seek advice. I have highschool physics knowledge but no further.
    Many thanks, Hayley
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2009 #2


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    Homework Helper

    This isn't homework, so it might be better in the "General Physics" section. The people there are better at answering this type of question.

    That said, what's a "massive electromagnetic charge"? Charge is just a deficiency or excess in electrons. An everyday example is that rubbing two things together charges them because one of them donates electrons to the other. If everything in the room is somehow given a massive charge, which is pretty much impossible to do, the room would implode or explode with extreme violence because of electrostatic attraction/repulsion.

    As for hard disks, yes, they would lose their magnetism and be erased if heated past their Curie temperatures.

    As for electromagnetic fields, an electromagnetic field is just radiation: radio waves, UV, light, infrared, x-rays, or gamma rays. What effect radiation has depends on the type and intensity of radiation, but I don't think this is the answer you were looking for.

    If you're serious about researching electromagnetism, I'd recommend a grade 11 high-school physics textbook. It's going to spend maybe one chapter talking about it, but that one chapter will be an extremely informative summing-up of classical electromagnetism.
  4. Nov 16, 2009 #3
    Thank you very much for your reply. Yes, it is electromagnetic charge that is more what I am looking at. I have taken up your advice and ordered a year 11 physics text book to bolster up my background knowledge, and then I may be back with more specific questions if that's okay. I will post them in he general physics area as you recommended. Many Thanks again for your expertise, it is much appreciated :-)
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