electromagnetic pulse


Definition of electromagnetic pulse 

: a pulse of high-intensity electromagnetic radiation generated especially by a nuclear blast high above the earth's surface and held to disrupt electronic and electrical systems Any nuclear bomb detonated high above the atmosphere bathes the area below in a powerful electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that is likely to burn out delicate electronic chips, transistors, computers and power and communication systems. The pulse happens at the speed of light, covering an entire continent.— William Broad abbreviation EMP

Examples of electromagnetic pulse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Other ICBMs could detonate EMPs (electromagnetic pulses) knocking out connections to the modern world. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "New laser-equipped drones will take out missile threats against the US," 7 Sep. 2018 And when students asked to make electromagnetic pulse technology, the school graciously accepted, Ars wrote. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Inside Elon Musk's Ad Astra School Where Grades and Traditional Classes Don't Exist," 26 June 2018 The intense heat would set gas lines, fuel tanks, and power lines on fire, and an electromagnetic pulse created by the explosion would knock out most computers, cell phones, and communication towers within several miles. Daily Intelligencer, "This Is What a Nuclear Bomb Looks Like," 12 June 2018 Impenetrable from the outside, the bunker can resist any electromagnetic pulse, even a nuclear attack. Trina Thompson, Fox News, "Rare look inside Cheyenne Mountain Complex, 'America's fortress'," 11 May 2018 It's secured by two massive 23-ton blast doors, completely sealing it off from the outside world to survive a nuclear strike, or maintain communications after an electromagnetic pulse attack. Scott Mclean, CNN, "Inside the mountain base still on alert to North Korea's missile threat," 11 May 2018 An electromagnetic pulse fries cellphones within 5 kilometers, and the power grid across much of the city goes dark. M. Mitchell Waldrop, Science | AAAS, "What if a nuke goes off in Washington, D.C.? Simulations of artificial societies help planners cope with the unthinkable," 12 Apr. 2018 But the movie utterly fails when the underground explosion causes an electromagnetic pulse. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Hollywood Has No Idea How Nukes Work," 2 Apr. 2018 Experts say North Korea could potentially strike the American mainland with a nuclear electromagnetic pulse that would wreak havoc on power grids, utilities, infrastructure and any industry dependent on them. Time, "What Kim Jong Un Really Wants From President Trump," 29 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'electromagnetic pulse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of electromagnetic pulse

1951, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

20 Nov 2018

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The first known use of electromagnetic pulse was in 1951

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to make faulty or ineffective

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