(ORDO NEWS) — The Faraday cage sounds as mysterious as it looks. First invented in the 19th century, the cage has a number of practical uses, but for the most part it is a fun attraction today. How does it work?
Faraday cages really surround you, you just don’t notice them. Here’s how they work and why they can be very useful
A Faraday cage is essentially a container or shield that blocks electromagnetic radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, such as radio waves and microwaves.
It works on the principle that when an electromagnetic field collides with something capable of conducting electricity, electric charges remain outside the conductor and cannot enter.
It also means that a cage made of a material capable of conducting electricity will prevent certain electromagnetic radiation from passing through. This applies both to constant, or electrostatic fields, and to changing electrodynamic fields.
The Faraday cage can be made from any material capable of conducting electricity. It can be wire mesh, metal sheets or coils of wire. They can be of any shape, such as a box, sphere or cylinder, and any size from very small to very large. Even aluminum foil can be a material for a Faraday cage.
The outer covering, or conductor, can be extremely thin, like foil, but if made thicker, it provides additional protection against powerful electric fields.
Faraday cages can be complex or extremely simple, ranging in size from a shoebox to an entire building. Put your phone in a plastic case and then surround it with aluminum foil, for example, and it will be a makeshift Faraday cage.
If you have a microwave in your kitchen, it is itself a Faraday cage, keeping the microwaves trapped inside the appliance so they heat up your food and don’t escape. So you can stand next to the microwave – its radiation will not harm you.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners in medical facilities also have Faraday cages, which help prevent radio signals from entering the room and interfering with the operation of the equipment.
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