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Tog
2007-Jul-12, 10:28 AM
I've got a question about an electromagnetic pulse, but it's sort of odd. There was a character in the TV show, Heroes, that had an ability to control radiation. In one episode he fired off an EMP to override the security locks in a building they needed to et out of. This is type of EMP I'm asking about. Comic book physics, more or less.

I read the Wiki on EMP, and searched around BAUT a bit for it, but everything so far seems to be about lightning, Oceans 11, and War of the Worlds. Here is the setting. I want to set up a classic, whodunit type story, where people are cut off from the outside for a few days. One of the characters will be capable of generating an EMP large enough to cover the whole house. My understanding is that this will basically reduce the house to pre-industrial conditions. No lights, no electronics, not even flashlights. Is that correct? All Electronic devices, active or not will be fried? If this is the case, would it prevent any new electronic devices from being built from parts in the affected area? Could someone make a crystal radio for example?

Also, will this do anything bad to a pacemaker?

Thanks

trinitree88
2007-Jul-12, 11:00 AM
I've got a question about an electromagnetic pulse, but it's sort of odd. There was a character in the TV show, Heroes, that had an ability to control radiation. In one episode he fired off an EMP to override the security locks in a building they needed to et out of. This is type of EMP I'm asking about. Comic book physics, more or less.

I read the Wiki on EMP, and searched around BAUT a bit for it, but everything so far seems to be about lightning, Oceans 11, and War of the Worlds. Here is the setting. I want to set up a classic, whodunit type story, where people are cut off from the outside for a few days. One of the characters will be capable of generating an EMP large enough to cover the whole house. My understanding is that this will basically reduce the house to pre-industrial conditions. No lights, no electronics, not even flashlights. Is that correct? All Electronic devices, active or not will be fried? If this is the case, would it prevent any new electronic devices from being built from parts in the affected area? Could someone make a crystal radio for example?

Also, will this do anything bad to a pacemaker?

Thanks

Tog. Las Vegas never liked them, but I'm not sure how much it affected their electronics. I think vacuum tube amplifiers were less susceptible than solid state circuitry. Also, it depends on proximity..~1/r2.
I don't see why replacement parts couldn't be used, but in electronics they usually throw away out of spec pieces...(or sell them cheap at....:lol:). A Faraday cage will protect sensitive materials and is used both for Mil and commercial apps. Pete


see:Database of nuclear tests, United States: overview (http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/tests/USA-ntestsS.html)

Jeff Root
2007-Jul-12, 12:09 PM
To disable an ordinary flashlight with EMP means causing so much
current to flow through the bulb that it burns out. I think that
would require an absurdly enormous EMP. As an uneducated guess,
I suspect that it would also be powerful enough to kill anyone
equally close to the source.

It is mostly transistors and diodes and similar electronic devices
which can stand only small voltages and currents that are easily
damaged by EMP. Generally, the smaller, the more susceptible.
I would think that the length of the wires or other antenna-like
conductors connected to the devices make a big difference.
The longer the conductor, the greater the induced current.
An integrated circuit chip not plugged into anything would not
be damaged.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Larry Jacks
2007-Jul-12, 01:08 PM
From what I've read, EMP is most often associated with a high altitude nuclear detonation. The pulse is picked up by wiring such as power lines, household wiring, vehicle wiring, etc. Electronic devices connected to the lines get a big surge in current similar to a lightning strike on the line. Since there are no long wires in a flashlight, it seems highly unlikely that EMP would affect it in the least. trinitree88 is right - old vacuum tube electronics is the least affected by EMP. Transistor devices are much more vulnerable and semiconductors (which can pack millions of transistors in a single chip are the most vulnerable unless they're hardened (military spec).

Simply giving off radiation wouldn't cause EMP because alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays, etc. don't induce a current in a wire. If the character in your comic book could give off radio-frequency energy, that'd be a different story.

Sticks
2007-Jul-12, 02:03 PM
I would like a directional EMP emmitter, preferably hand held to deal with loud mouth idiots on mobile phones and those with ipods on buses that have the volume turned up so high we are all aflicted with their lack of musical taste :mad:

:mad:

Fazor
2007-Jul-12, 02:09 PM
Part of the reason why they put the 'fiction' at the end of science-fiction. :) I'm a lot less learned on these things than many'a'bauter, but from my understanding just about every portrayal of EMP in fiction literature/television/movies is not just unlikely, but impossible. But since it persists so feverently as a conveniant means to disable anything electronic, I don't see why it couldn't be used anyway if you're writing a story. Sometimes you just have to deal with knowing parts of your story are impossible. But literature is a release from reality, so a little impossible is alot okay.

DyerWolf
2007-Jul-12, 04:18 PM
I would like a directional EMP emmitter, preferably hand held to deal with loud mouth idiots on mobile phones and those with ipods on buses that have the volume turned up so high we are all aflicted with their lack of musical taste :mad:

:mad:

Agreed.

LA traffic always made me wish for the portable, directional EMP transmitter to make the loud bass-thumping idiot doing 45 on the freeway wonder why his $1000 car with $3500 stereo suddenly stopped working...

Tog
2007-Jul-13, 06:29 AM
Part of the reason why they put the 'fiction' at the end of science-fiction. :) I'm a lot less learned on these things than many'a'bauter, but from my understanding just about every portrayal of EMP in fiction literature/television/movies is not just unlikely, but impossible. But since it persists so feverently as a conveniant means to disable anything electronic, I don't see why it couldn't be used anyway if you're writing a story. Sometimes you just have to deal with knowing parts of your story are impossible. But literature is a release from reality, so a little impossible is alot okay.

I understand, and even though I'm already dealing with comic book physics, I'd like them to be as close to good CBP as possible. The first mystery I ever wrote was intended to do nothing more than show why getting hit on the rights side of the head did not mean the attacker was left handed. One I read used a magnifying glass to set off a heat sensor and fill a sealed library with Halon gas to put out the non existent fire. The lens would have had to reach focus 40 feet away. Since I never really considered a 10-20 inch diameter magnifying glass I felt a bit cheated on that one.

That was just the first thing I thought of to cut power to the house and kill the cell phones, and the victim all at once. BTW, this is based on an MMO game so 98% where EMP is a power shared by many different sets, so the audience will be familiar with it. I'd just like to show alternate ways it might be used. If it's not plausible in this context, then I'll just hit him with a lamp; Or a forklift. Another power can draw items through a wormhole and use them as projectiles.:D

Anyway, thanks for the replies. Electricity is one of those things that will never be anything more than magic to me. I just can't seem to ever actually understand anything about it other than when it comes to wires, don't like the shiny parts.

As for the annoying stereos, I'd like to be able to lock the volume in place then stick them on an opera station until the owner rips out the wires themselves.