The Fabulous Faraday Cage Quiz

By: Staff
Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

It was a grand day for humankind when the first Faraday cage came to life; these cages have given rise to all sorts of technological innovations. How much do you know about these wiry wonders?

In what year did Michael Faraday build the first Faraday cage?

It was in 1836, nearly 100 years after the first experiments demonstrating the properties that make Faraday cages work.

Who first explored (in detail and with multiple experiments) the physics principles at work in Faraday cages?

This was well after his first kite-flying adventures. Ben Franklin delved deeper and deeper into the mysteries of electricity, including the phenomena involved in Faraday cages.

Under what conditions do Faraday cages work best?

Earth is good for a lot of things, and absorbing electrical charges is one of them. Grounded cages are generally more effective than non-grounded versions.

To work effectively, the holes in the mesh or screen of a Faraday cage must be smaller than what?

Electromagnetic radiation wavelengths really do come in many different sizes, from as big as buildings to extremely tiny. Holes must be smaller than the wavelength you want to block.

In military applications, Faraday cages are employed to protect against what?

Are you down with EMPs? Electronics aren't; they just go down when electromagnetic pulses strike, which is why militaries use Faraday cages to protect against them.

Why must hospitals shield their MRI machine rooms with Faraday cages?

We're sorry to say that the results of your test mean you're rocking with the classics on 104.1 FM. Without the cages, stray signals can create strange artifacts in MRI scan results.

What's one ubiquitous product that incorporates the principles of Faraday cages?

Why is my favorite game show all fuzzy? Maybe the cat chewed your TV's coax cable, which is shielded to prevent interference that causes poor picture quality.

An electromagnetic pulse could destroy electronics-based communications systems. What might cause a huge EMP?

Bombs away! A huge, high-altitude nuclear blast could cause an EMP that would devastate a country's communications systems if they didn't have Faraday cage protection.

Why are high-altitude EMPs most likely to destroy an entire country's communications systems?

Get out your maps; you're going to need them. Higher blasts affect a larger area and thus, knock out a lot more systems.

In addition to telecommunications systems, powerful EMPs can also disrupt what?

It's a nightmare scenario. A huge EMP could kill the electrical grid, and thus, totally cripple food and water supplies.

Why do shoplifters like Faraday cages?

Please don't try this one at home. Lining shopping bags with foil can fool scanners that detect unpurchased items with RFID tags.

Before creating the first Faraday cage, Michael Faraday discovered what?

It's one of the principles that makes the cages work. Electromagnetic induction is a powerful tool for physicists.

In addition to blocking static electric fields, what else do Faraday cages shield their interiors from?

It could be radio waves, microwaves or other common waves. The cages block many types of electromagnetic radiation.

In a famous experiment, Faraday confirmed principles of electricity proposed by Ben Franklin using what?

He made great margaritas after the experiment was over. A metal ice pail served as a rudimentary Faraday cage.

This everyday device uses the principles of a Faraday cage, but in reverse.

It basically turns the cage concept inside out. Microwaves trap electromagnetic waves within their cooking chambers to cook food -- and to keep bystanders safe.

What other name do Faraday cages often go by?

Raise the shields! In some ways, the term Faraday shield is a better descriptor for what the cages do.

Your car is a Faraday cage. How can you ensure your survival if lightning strikes your vehicle?

Keep your hands in your lap. Don't touch anything metal inside the car. And maybe pray a little.

What factor can reduce your car's ability to act as a Faraday cage in the event of a lightning strike?

Hopefully, you were smart enough to close the top before the storm started, but it may not save you. A non-metal top reduces the cage's effectiveness.

In a thunderstorm, what other vehicle can protect you with a Faraday cage?

The canopy is key. If it has a sturdy metal canopy, you'll likely be protected. Just don't touch anything metal.

Boats rely on the principles of Faraday cages to protect passengers. What are these protection systems called?

Lightning is a major threat on the water. But a professionally installed lightning protection system can keep those on board alive.

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