An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack is one of the most imminent threats to the United States – and it could happen at any moment. In an effort to thwart these attacks, a small company from Utah has developed a composite material that melds carbon fibers with a nickel coating, to shield electromagnetic pulses.
Electromagnetic warfare involves utilizing an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which takes out electrical systems without the collateral damage attached to conventional firepower. Though an EMP bomb doesn’t sound as horrific as a nuclear bomb, an electromagnetic pulse detonated over even a small region would be absolutely devastating. Planes would have to make unexpected landings, mass communications would be disrupted, and the economy would come to a grinding halt.
The company – Conductive Composites – is now selling cases made of its Nickel Chemical Vapor Deposition (NiCVD) composite material through its Faraday Cases division. The materials that make up the Faraday Cases are the same materials that make up ultra-lightweight antennas, satellites and communication dishes. A Faraday case inhibits electromagnetic radiation from penetrating its exterior, thereby shielding whatever is inside from electromagnetic pulses, radio waves and other electromagnetic phenomenon.(1)
Same materials, different strategy
The same materials that comprise the Faraday cases could be molded into wallpaper, paint or concrete. In addition, they could be used to cover and protect buildings from an EMP attack without the costs attached to metal mesh Faraday cages. Furthermore, they could be used as a temporary safety measure for electronic facilities everywhere. In fact, during 2013, the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel was converted into a Faraday Cage while the new Pope was being selected, so that the results of the election would not leak out.(2)
Conventional shielded cables tend to use a tight mesh of conductors to insulate from the interference of most electromagnetic waves. Consequently, they are often heavier and more expensive than typical cables. The same NiCVD materials used in the Faraday Cases can be used for wire shielding for a fraction of the price.
An EMP attack isn’t’ just a theoretical debacle but has been tested in the here and now. Jim Cobb explains in his book, Prepper’s Long Term Survival Guide, that an EMP attack was discovered to be possible following the Starfish Prime atomic bomb test in 1962. A high altitude explosion was detonated 250 miles above a point in the Pacific Ocean. The EMP attack took out streetlights in Hawaii, about 900 miles away from the explosion.(4)
If such an attack were deployed 250 miles above Indianapolis, Indiana, for instance, there would be loss of electrical power from Dallas, Texas, to New York City. Worse, that’s just considering technology by the 1960s’ standards. An EMP attack today would be far worse.(4)
A menacing threat
Congressional studies suggest as few as two small nuclear devices detonated in the right places could take out 70 percent or more of our electrical capabilities. Several countries have this technology right now, including North Korea. And according to John McAfee, an anti-virus software magnate currently running for president, if the United States were plagued by an EMP attack, approximately 90 percent of the population would die within two years.(3)
In May, the Air Force admitted that it was developing its own electromagnetic weapon. A Faraday cage could protect citizens from this sort of attack. Unfortunately, the primary motivation behind the military’s application of this material, apart from protecting data centers, is to protect drones against EMP attacks.(2)
“Something that is often overlooked in discussions about EMP is the fact that while we have the know-how to build more transformers and such to replace any infrastructure that is damaged by EMP, those repairs don’t happen overnight,” noted Jim Cobb. “It would take literally years before any semblance of life as we know it could be restored.”(4)
(4) Cobb, Jim. Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide. Ulysses Press. Berkeley, CA. 2014.