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Electromagnetic Pulse EMP Questions

EMP Graphy

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a very short burst of electrical energy. Solar discharge toward the earth is the most common source of electromagnetic energy today, and it has been happening ever since the sun came into being. Until the early 1800's nobody really had a reason to care about the EMP phenomenon.

In the early 1800's an Electromagnetic Pulse posed very little threat to our way of life. America had not entered the age of electronics and did not have integrated chips. The only real communication system we had was the telegraph, given to us by Samuel Morris in the 1830's. 

Ninty years later, EMP has become one of the greatest threats to the modern world because it is capable of destroying integrated chips.  Integrated chips process electrical information and they are the brains of most electronics today. We have become completely dependent on integrated chips in every aspect of life. Computers, cell phones, municipal water pumps, sewage systems, air traffic control, and most vehicles all rely on the use integrated chips to control them.


How an Electromagnetic Pulse Works

The best way to understand an electromagnetic pulse is to visit a pond on a calm day without any wind. The water should be completely still. The other side of the pond is the earth. You are the sun. The rock you are holding in your hand is a high-energy release from the sun. When you drop the rock into the pond, it disturbs the water, creating a ripple effect. Each ripple represents part of the energy released from the rock when it hit. You can see the energy transferred to the water and move across the pond to the other side. The waves hit the other side and you get soil erosion.

When an EMP occurs, the energy is transferred as a wave of electromagnetic energy, so you cannot see it with the naked eye, but it is there. When the energy gets to the earth, it only lasts for a blink of an eye. But that is all the time it takes to damage electronics. When the wave hits, the energy finds it's way to long wires and other conductive materials. The energy is then conducted through the wires where it overloads sensitive electronics and burns them out. 

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