Skip to main content

The Explosively-Pumped Flux Compression Generator Unraveled

When I was still a 2nd year college student 3 years ago, I came upon an article containing information about the e-bomb as a possible means of achieving the goals of a terrorist. First of all, an e-bomb is, from its name, a bomb. But the first two characters so often used and encountered in our day-to-day routines, such as e-mail, e-book, etc. changes the story. An e-bomb is a bomb on the electronics level, that is, it targets the destruction of electronics equipment, specially those with a low power rating. How does it do it? Simple. It  puts to good use one of Maxwell's equations, that is, a changing magnetic flux induces an electric field. And if this induction is done on a magnitude a hundreds of times greater than the contemporary, the electric field can
impress a potential way above the power rating of ordinary electronics, thus frying them to uselessness.

The e-bomb is essentially an explosively-pumped flux compression generator, typically referenced as an EPFCG or HEMP generator by many texts. Studies have been conducted on it since the early 1900s, and is part of the military arsenal of most developed countries. Fortunately, its lethality poses no threat to life, only to electronics. It helps in warfare by disabling the enemies means of electronic communication, obviously by destroying the sensitive electronics inside transmitters and receivers.

Can terrorists manufacture such a bomb? Yes, given that they get some crucial factors and limitations right.
To manufacture such a bomb, you will fundamentally need a one-time power source, a coil, a core conductor, and explosives. (For the technically savvy readers, you might wonder in my latter discussion that there seems to be something missing, well to save the confusion I've deliberately left out some parts out)
A power source is needed to supply a high amount of current to the coil to initially build up a high intensity magnetic field. This power source can be a lower stage EPFCG or a capacitor bank (Marx bank). The core conductor will be loaded with explosives in its interior, and upon detonation will, starting from one side, short the turns of the coil towards the other side. This "shorting" will serve as the compression of the initially built up high intensity magnetic field. The e-bomb will, like all other bombs, be destroyed at the end of the flux compression process. The compressed flux will induce a high intensity electric field and potential on conductors in the order of kilovolts(depending on the intensity of the initially built up magnetic field) and destroy any low-power electronics within its vicinity.

Luckily, there is a countermeasure for this kind of attack. If you had any Physics class on electric fields and conductors, remember that the electric field inside a charged conductor is 0. For example, a charged sphere has an electric field of 0 at its interior. Then, if electronics equipment is covered with a conducting enclosure, the high intensity induced electric field would fall on the outer conductor, while the electric field on its interior remains 0. Popularly, this enclosure is known as a Faraday Cage. However for practical communications equipment like routers, switches,etc. this is not possible because such protection would render the devices useless. This is because the wires going out of them can serve as antennas, not unless extensive measures are taken (like covering the whole room with a faraday cage).

Current reports as of this writing state that componenets required to build an e-bomb plays around 400 to 2000 euros. No complex manufacturing process is required to build one. The risk of radical violent terrorist groups manufacturing such weapons is very real.

On the brighter side, EPFCGs aren't that evil and threatening. They can actually help stick materials together
in a matter of nanoseconds. Their effectiveness is optimized when a nuclear fusion reaction is used for the explosion. My knowledge on nuclear EPFCGs is limited so it would be a pleasure if you happened to have any materials on it and would share it with me. (Please don't hesitate to e-mail me at justinmamaradlo@gmail.com)



I have made a follow-up post on EPFCGs and a literature available for download by following the link below: [for educational purposes only, the credibility of the material is based fundamentally on theory]

[DOWNLOAD]

Also, it is password protected to add a little fun to it.
Perhaps this hint should suffice to give it away:

"The first that you take beside,
your second at first sight."



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Calculator Techniques for the Casio FX-991ES and FX-991EX Unraveled

In solving engineering problems, one may not have the luxury of time. Most situations demand immediate results. The price of falling behind schedule is costly and demeaning to one's reputation. Therefore, every bit of precaution must be taken to expedite calculations. The following introduces methods to tackle these problems speedily using a Casio calculator FX-991ES and FX-991EX.


►For algebraic problems where you need to find the exact value of a dependent or independent variable, just use the CALC or [ES] Mode 5 functions or [EX] MENU A functions.


►For definite differentiation and integration problems, simply use the d/dx and integral operators in the COMP mode.


►For models that follow the differential equation: dP/dx=kt and models that follow a geometric function(i.e. A*B^x).

[ES]
-Simply go to Mode 3 (STAT) (5)      e^x
-For geometric functions Mode 3 (STAT) 6 A*B^x
-(Why? Because the solution to the D.E. dP/dx=kt is an exponential function e^x.
When we know the boundary con…

Common Difficulties and Mishaps in 6.004 Computation Structures (by MITx)

Updated: 
May 6, 2018
VLSI Project: The Beta Layout [help needed]Current Tasks: ►Complete 32-bit ALU layout [unpipelined] in a 3-metal-layer C5 process. ►Extend Excel VBA macro to generate code for sequential instructions (machine language to actual electrical signals).
Current Obstacles/Unresolved Decisions:
►Use of complementary CMOS or pass transistor logic (do both? time expensive, will depend on sched.
►Adder selection: Brent-Kung; Kogge Stone; Ladner Fischer (brent takes up most space but seems to be fastest, consider fan-out) [do all? time expensive, will depend on sched.)
►layout requirements and DRC errors

Please leave a comment on the post below for advise. Any help is highly appreciated.




Yay or Nay? A Closer Look at AnDapt’s PMIC On-Demand Technology

Innovations on making product features customizable are recently gaining popularity. Take Andapt for example, a fabless start-up that unveiled its Multi-Rail Power Platform technology for On-Demand PMIC applications a few months back. (read all about it here: Will PMIC On-Demand Replace Catalog Power Devices?) Their online platform, WebAmp, enables the consumer to configure the PMIC based on desired specifications. Fortunately, I got a hands-on experience during the trial period (without the physical board (AmP8DB1) or adaptor (AmpLink)). In my opinion, their GUI is friendly but it lacks a verification method for tuning (i.e. the entered combination of specs). How would we know if it will perform as expected or if there are contradicting indications that yield queer behavior? Also, there is not just one IP available, but many that cater to a differing number of channels and voltage requirements (each with their own price tag).
Every new emerging technology has the potential to oversh…