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Author Topic: Strong Electromagnetic Pulse Hurt The Body?  (Read 1600 times)

Offline Voxx

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Strong Electromagnetic Pulse Hurt The Body?
« on: 22/08/2012 00:52:16 »
Can a strong electromagnetic pulse damage the organic cellular structure?


 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Strong Electromagnetic Pulse Hurt The Body?
« Reply #1 on: 28/08/2012 12:06:17 »
ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP) can be produced by nuclear explosions outside the atmosphere, or from devices on the ground (as sometimes portrayed in movies).

The first public knowledge of EMP came in 1962, when an EMP knocked out streetlights in Hawaii, but it did not affect the population. The main impacts of EMP today are likely to be on our devices and tools, in which computer chips are ubiquitous.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_pulse#Starfish_Prime

ElectroMagnetic Pulse (EMP) can have peak voltages of 50kV per meter.

Nerve cells routinely operate with a voltage of 0.1V between the inside and outside - separated by a double layer cell membrane about 0.1 micrometer thick. This suggests that the breakdown voltage is in excess of 1MV per meter. So even an intense EMP event would not cause breakdown of the cell membranes.

The triggering time of a nerve impulse is about 1-2ms, while the initial pulse of an EMP is about 1 ns, or about 1 million times shorter. This suggests that EMP would not cause false triggering of neurones. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_potential

Some of the longer-term effects of EMP could cause biological damage; people holding electrical appliances could get an electric shock - just as they could when lightning strikes.

There are applications where electromagnetic fields are used to trigger brain cell activity without direct electrical contact, but you need to be wearing the apparatus for it to have an effect even 1.5cm into the brain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation

For the would-be supervillain trying to take over the world, EMP could certainly disable a country or a city, but it probably wouldn't kill or injure many people directly. The damage would come from destroying the computers and electrical networks which today hold our society together.

As far as damaging organic structures, our evil supervillain would do more damage with a pistol - or even a taser.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Strong Electromagnetic Pulse Hurt The Body?
« Reply #2 on: 28/08/2012 16:21:44 »
Thank you for the summary Evan_au, it was very well put together.
 

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Re: Strong Electromagnetic Pulse Hurt The Body?
« Reply #2 on: 28/08/2012 16:21:44 »

 

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