Is there any evidence that tinfoil can deflect electro-magnetic radiation?
#106700. Asked by BaronBatty. (Jun 29 09 2:24 AM)
It clearly deflects the visible light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, or you would be able so see through it! Different wavelengths of em radiation interact with different materials in different ways, so you would need to specify a part of the spectrum to investigate its interaction with tinfoil experimentally.|
(The following is in relation to radio frequency em waves and 'tinfoil hats' as protection.)
"A well constructed tin foil enclosure would approximate a Faraday cage, reducing the amount of (typically harmless) radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation inside. A common high school physics demonstration involves placing an AM radio on tin foil, and then covering the radio with a metal bucket. This leads to a noticeable reduction in signal strength. The efficiency of such an enclosure in blocking such radiation depends on the thickness of the tin foil, as dictated by the skin depth, the distance the radiation can propagate in a particular non-ideal conductor. For half-millimeter-thick tin foil, radiation above about 20 kHz (i.e., including both AM and FM bands) would be partially blocked, although it should be noted that tin foil is not sold in this thickness, and numerous layers of tin foil would be required to sustain this effect.
The effectiveness of the tin foil hat as electromagnetic shielding for stopping radio waves is greatly reduced by the fact that it is not a complete enclosure. Placing an AM radio under a metal bucket without a conductive layer underneath demonstrates the relative ineffectiveness of such a setup. Indeed, because the effect of an ungrounded Faraday cage is to partially reflect the incident radiation, a radio wave that is incident on the inner surface of the hat (i.e., coming from underneath the hat-wearer) would be reflected and partially 'focused' towards the user's brain. While tin foil hats may have originated in some understanding of the Faraday cage effect, the use of such a hat to attenuate radio waves belongs properly to the realm of pseudoscience.
A study by graduate students at MIT determined that a tin foil hat could either amplify or attenuate incoming radiation depending on frequency; the effect was observed to be roughly independent of the relative placement of the wearer and radiation source. At GHz wavelengths, the skin depth is less than the thickness of even the thinnest foil.
Tin foil hats are seen by some as a protective measure against the effects of electromagnetic radiation (EMR). Despite some allegations that EMR exposure has negative health consequences, at this time, no link has been verifiably proven between the radio-frequency EMR that tin foil hats are meant to protect against and subsequent ill health."
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