Electromagnetic Pulse

An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. A high-intensity EMP can cause civilian infrastructure such as transportation, water system to collapse. Naturally, it occurs due to a geomagnetic storm or it can be man-made through the use of nuclear weapons. In this article, we shall be discussing the characteristics of electromagnetic pulse, its different waveforms and the various types of electromagnetic pulse.

Table of Contents

What Is Electromagnetic Pulse?

An electromagnetic pulse or  EMP, also called a transient form of electromagnetic disturbance, is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. It occurs as radiated, even electric or a magnetic field and also a conducted electrical current which depends upon the source. An EMP can contain energy components over a large part of the EM spectrum, from very-low-frequency radio to ultraviolet wavelength.

The result of the EMP can be disastrous. The event of EMP occurs regularly in Sun and other stars, but with less intensity. If the intensity of the EMP is very high, then it will reach the earth’s surface and destroy infrastructures such as communication system, electrical infrastructure, radio and television broadcast and much more.

Electromagnetic Pulse

For instance, an event like EMP such as the lightning strike may damage the physical objects like buildings and can also cause harm to living beings on earth.

Electromagnetic Pulse General Characteristics

An electromagnetic pulse is like electromagnetic radiation. The meaning of short duration is it can spread about a range of different frequencies. Here are the general characteristics of the electromagnetic pulse:

  • Type of the energy whether radiated or electric or magnetic
  • The range or the spectrum of different frequencies that are present.
  • In the Pulse waveform, kind of shape, its duration and the amplitude.

Electromagnetic Pulse Frequency Ranges

The electromagnetic pulse energy typically comprises various frequencies of DC to some kind of upper limit that depends on the source. The range can be defined as the EMP, which can also be referred to as DC to the daylight, excluding the highest form of frequencies which comprises the optical and ionizing ranges.

Electromagnetic Pulse Waveforms

The waveform describes as to how the instantaneous amplitude changes with time. The Real pulses usually tend to be complicated, and so the simplified kind of models are used.






As shown in the diagram, most of the pulses are said to have a very sharp form of leading-edge, built quickly up to a maximum level. However, the double form of the exponential curve, also known as the classic model, that climbs deeply and also quickly reaches the peak and then tends to decay slowly.

Types of Electromagnetic Pulse

Different types of Electromagnetic Pulse arise from the man-made and natural, and also the weapons effects.

Types of different natural pulses event that occur includes:

  • Lightning pulse
  • Electrostatic discharge
  • Meteoric EMP
  • Coronal Mass Ejection

Types of man made Electromagnetic Pulse event occurring includes:

  • Switching of the electrical circuitry.
  • Electric motors create a kind of pulse as and when the internal contacts of electrical circuits make or break the connections.
  • The ignition systems of Gasoline engine creates pulses when spark plugs are said to be energized or even fired.
  • Continual actions of the digital electronic circuitry.
  • Surges in the Power line.

Types of various military Electromagnetic Pulse include:

  • Nuclea (NEMP), of nuclear explosion.
  • Non-nuclear E. pulse (NNEMP) weapons.

Stay tuned with BYJU’S to learn more about lightning, electromagnetic wave and many more.

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