20 September 2009

Faraday Cage EMP Protection of Homes and Circuits

Image from Instructables
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is pushing Congress for authority to require power companies to take protective steps, which could include building metal shields around sensitive computer equipment.

An expert panel that Congress created to study such an attack says it would halt banking, transportation, food, water and emergency services and "might result in defeat of our military forces."

"The consequences would be catastrophic," said Joseph McClelland, director of the energy commission's Office of Electric Reliability.

"It would bring down the whole grid and cost between $1 trillion and $2 trillion" to repair, said Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. Full recovery could take up to 10 years, he said.

The scenario involves a phenomenon called an "electromagnetic pulse," or EMP, which is essentially a huge energy wave strong enough to knock out systems that control electricity flow across the country.

A nuclear explosion 25 to 250 miles above the Earth's surface would be high enough that the blast wouldn't damage buildings or spread a lethal radioactive cloud. Even so, at that height, the pulse would fan out hundreds of miles.

The immediate effect would resemble a blackout. Although blackouts can be restored quickly, an EMP could damage or destroy power systems, leaving them inoperable for months or longer. _USAToday

Some types of ferrocement buildings include a dense wire mesh or steel rebar matrix support, that may provide some shielding from EMP, if the steel matrix is grounded to earth. In fact, homes with plastered siding often contain a conductive wire lathe, which if integrated with a wire mesh over the ceiling -- and grounded to earth -- may also provide electromagnetic shielding from a radiative pulse. More

Electronic circuits -- integrated circuits such as will be incorporated into any "smart grid" -- are most vulnerable. Any modern automobiles with electronic ignition that are not shielded, will be vulnerable. Needless to say, any modern airplanes or airliners caught in the sky by an EMP would most likely be doomed.

The political leadership of the US is focused on symbolic reforms of the auto industry, the energy industry, health care, and other things community organisers might focus upon. The real and potentially serious problems of the US quasi-empire and international peacekeeper, are essentially ignored. Unfortunately, most other advanced nations are similarly plagued by blind and incompetent leadership.

Which means that it is up to you.

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Blogger fboness said...

I put steel siding on my house. Who knew I was being an EMP survivalist?

Sunday, 20 September, 2009  
Blogger Billy Oblivion said...


If you are "on the grid" electrically you're going to get the pulse right up to your sensitive bits through the house electrical system.

However the chances of your random terrorist/nutjob getting a working nuclear device 25+ miles above the central US is really slim. Really, really slim. As in you're better off worrying about your neighbors starting a meth lab and retail store.

Which leaves countries. So far North Korea and Iran have both been having LOTS of problems iwth their delivery systems, not to mention the warheads themselves. It's a lot easier to solder up a bomb that will go boom in an underground cave than th build one that will survive the vibration and Gs of a intercontinental rocket launch.

Which leaves more stable, rational nations.

There are a lot more likely problems in our future than One Nuke Over Kansas City. I'm worried about those.

Sunday, 20 September, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Steel siding? That may shield your electronics that is not plugged into a grid outlet. Aluminum siding may also work.

The technological expertise to loft a missile with a small nuclear warhead over the US from an offshore freighter is not that difficult, particularly with a little help from the friends who cover for them in the UN. Not so difficult at all, actually.

It is not hard to imagine the Chinese deciding it is time to remove the Taiwan obstruction from their growing bluewater navy's access to the open ocean.

A little diversion here, a little diversion there . . . always maintaining plausible deniability.

Of course it is in their plans, but .... would they actually do it?

Sunday, 20 September, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Of course you need the Faraday cage to surround the electronics and to be grounded, so siding alone is not enough -- you need steel roofing or conductive mesh electrically bonded to the siding on all sides.

That's why monolithic domes -- perhaps with integrated lathe -- provide reasonably good protection, because the walls and roof are all integrated. Since everything connects to the concrete pad through the rebar, excellent grounding is quite possible.

Sunday, 20 September, 2009  
Blogger Loren said...

I'd be very surprised if the military dropped the hardening requirement after the Cold War. Hardening only ads about 10% to the cost of an item, depending.

Most consumer electronics already have a significant amount of shielding(metal car body, metal computer case, etc.--these help with FCC interference regs too), the problem is it's either insufficient, or it doesn't have the switching to go with it for full hardening.

Commercial/industrial products like airplanes also have some hardening, for other EM effects. I wouldn't take the word of a scare-monger though, which causes trouble finding someone objective enough to perform tests. Top Gear showed a VW could survive being struck by lightning though, so how does the part of a pulse you get compare with a lightning bolt?

Sunday, 20 September, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting article on the lack of preparation from a nuclear blast or EMP bomb from the government. I wouldn't count on them to protect you either. Did you know that a nuclear blast in the stratosphere could technicly fry all electronics in the world. The earth's magnetic sheild would become the conductor and the EM radiation would follow it around the world. I also wrote an interesting article on the Faraday Cage, come read it!
Sheilding Your Electronics from EM Radiation Using the Faraday Cage

Tuesday, 27 October, 2009  

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