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Why should you not take a notebook computer through a metal detector?

  1. Jan 25, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    I have always been told to remove anything metal before walking through a metal detector. Why is it bad to take a laptop through a metal dector? How can I give me answer in the language of physics?

    I cannot just say that it will probably scramble my internal memory and data. I cannot just say because I am afraid of what will happen.



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 25, 2010 #2

    mgb_phys

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    You remove anything metal because that's what they are trying to detect!
    If you are carrying a metal laptop the detector is going to go off -if you have a metal laptop under your arm, they don't know if you also have a gun!

    A metal detector that you walk through doesn't have a field strong enough to do anything to a laptop.
    X-ray machines (or rather the coil that drives them) might disrupt the memory of something that is running but a reboot will cure that - they are unlikely to do any permanent damage.
     
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