What is EMP?
For those of you who are not familiar with the term EMP, it is an acronym for Electromagnetic Pulse which is a sudden burst of electromagnetic radiation that operates on a principal called “induction” which causes a sudden spike in voltage in all unshielded electric circuits within its range that causes the components that make up the circuit to suddenly overheat and thus, fail.
Nature Vs. Man Made
An EMP can be generated either by a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the Sun, an enemy detonating a nuclear device in our atmosphere above our country, or by an enemy constructing and then detonating a purpose-specific EMP device. However, a CME would only adversely affect the satellites in orbit around our planet and the largest transformers in our national power grid and thus, damage to our local electronic devices is far more likely to occur from a nuclear or localized EMP.
In the event of any of such an occurrences, EMP protection is necessary in order for your electronics to survive and thus, they must shielded by placing them in an environment which will dissipate the excess voltage created by an EMP.
How can you provide EMP protection for your electronics?
Well, the answer to this question is to shield them by placing them in a device known as a Faraday Cage which is named after an English physicist named Michael Faraday who developed a unit of measure called a Farad (which is a measure of capacitance) and then placing your electronics inside of the Faraday Cage.
Of course, this obviously leads us to the question, what is a Faraday Cage and how does it work?
The Faraday Cage
Well, the answer to that question is a Faraday Cage is an insulated, enclosed, container made from a metal (such as steel) that will conduct electricity. However, it should be noted that in order for such a device to be effective, it absolutely must be completely enclosed and it is absolutely imperative that the access point into the device have a tight, metal-to-metal, seal with no gaps whatsoever so that electrical conductivity between the surfaces remains intact.
Contrary to what you may read on the Web, such devices as file cabinets and gun safes do not make good Faraday Cages due to the lack of electrical connectivity between the surfaces at the access points. (for an inexpensive Faraday Cage check out this article)
For small devices, simply wrapping the device in an insulator bag such as a plastic bag and then wrapping it in heavy duty aluminum foil while making certain that all of the surfaces overlap is sufficient. But, it should also be noted that placing multiple layers of aluminum foil over the device without a layer of insulation between each conducting layer causes a phenomenon called “skin effect” which reduces rather than enhances the shielding effect.
Need More Protection?
If added EMP protection is desired, multiple layers of foil can be used as long as a separate layer of insulation is placed between each of the conducting layers. Another inexpensive method of creating a viable Faraday Cage is to purchase a new, galvanized metal, trash can or similar metal canister with a tightly fitting lit and there again, you first wrap your electronic device in an insulator such as plastic and then place it within the metal container which will then provide you with a reasonable level of EMP protection by dissipating any excess voltage caused by an EMP.
This method obviously will only provide EMP protection for devices that will fit within the metal container used and thus, it is not feasible for use with larger scale electronic devices. But, if you are willing to put forth the effort and expense required, it is possible to construct a much larger Faraday Cage from nearly any large metal container as long as you make certain that the access point into the container is tightly sealed so that electrical conductivity is maintained.
What Are The Chances?
Since the likelihood of a nuclear EMP attack on the U.S. is actually quite high with declared enemies on either side of our country who have the capability to launch such an attack, either purchasing or constructing a metal container that would serve as a Faraday Cage is actually a wise idea if you wish to protect the electronics you depend upon.