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An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, emitted by a nuclear weapon exploded high above the United States could disable the electronic circuits of many devices vital to military defense and modern living.
These could include complicated weapon systems as well as phones, laptops, credit cards and car computers. Also in trouble might be home appliances, gas station pumps and bank accounts.
Equipment - Levels - EMP - Validity - Designs—
Fortunately, military equipment is designed to be immune to various levels of EMP, and the validity of its designs— and some civilian designs as well—have been tested and improved by a "friendly" EMP generator installed in a recently renovated facility at Sandia National Laboratories.
The ElectroMagnetic Environment Simulator, or EMES, consists of a hippopotamus-sized Marx generator that sits alone in a small laboratory. The large capacitor bank stores electrical energy and releases it upon command. The resulting blast of energy, in the form of an electromagnetic pulse, can be focused on a target every 15 minutes. Absorbers at the far end of the test chamber gobble up the energy not absorbed by the object being tested.
EMP - Pulse - Adversary - Attempt - Communications
"An EMP pulse generated by an adversary would be an attempt to disrupt our communications or other equipment," said Leonard Martinez, the Sandia researcher in charge of the timing and firing control system. "Recent advancements now enable us to provide that pulse within a microsecond of the unit's timing requirement."
The idea is to explore the effects of the energy pulse by testing an item at critical times during its processes. Learning when and where a problem may occur in the unit permits engineers to design better EMP shielding to prevent such upsets.
Sandia - EMES - Process - Components - Target
Sandia's EMES testing process involves trundling components into the target area, subjecting them to the rapidly...
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