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painkillers
07-31-2009, 01:56 PM
I was just reading about non-lethal microwave weapons -- apparently they are aiming to put them on planes. The thought struck me, what kind of armour would be effective against this sort of weapon? I assume a Faraday type cage might work. But would this give off sparks in the same way sticking a metal container in a microwave would do? A real light show on the battlefield. And how portable would this armour be?

This is not for a story. I am just curious and I assume, since the article I read mentioned that the weapons were being used at the lowest possible setting, that a lethal version is pretty much inevitable.

Thanks in advance for satisfying my curiosity.

Liam Jackson
07-31-2009, 02:21 PM
I think Faraday cages are elctromagnetic shields (lightening and electromagnetic radiation dissipation) Microwave is a radio wave.

As for armor against microwave, a more likely material would be a RAM coating (Radar Absorbing Material) combined with ceramic angular technology applied to the various panels. (think B-2 Stealth) Absorption and deflection in one package.

There's already a type of RAM material being touted as Anti-DEW (anti-directed energy weapon) called Thor-Shield. It works against electric charges and there's a theory that it can also be adpated for use against microwave. The penicillin of body armor fabric. That research is ongoing. I think it's currently available for anti-personnel use only. No knowledge of any uses for mechanized or aviation equipment, but it's only a matter of time.

It's 5:17 a.m., and I'm still waiting for the coffee to brew. Take the above with a grain o' salt.

*salute*

Mac H.
07-31-2009, 02:33 PM
I think Faraday cages are elctromagnetic shields (lightening and electromagnetic radiation dissipation) Microwave is a radio wave.

As for armor against microwave, a more likely material would be a RAM coating (Radar Absorbing Material) combined with angular technology applied to the various panels. (think B-2 Stealth) Absorption and deflection in one package.

It's 5:17 a.m., and I'm still waiting for the coffee to brew. Take the above with a grain o' salt.

*salute*Maybe a bit more than a grain of salt !

Microwaves are radio waves. Radio waves are 'electromagnetic radiation'.

A Faraday cage is an excellent shield against electromagnetic radiation such as microwaves. As long as the 'holes' in the cage aren't larger than a wavelength (or half a wavelength - not sure) then the wave will be stopped.

That is why the 'holes' in the see-through door of a microwave are that size ... they are small enough to stop microwaves, but large enough to let visible light through.

A metal case will work fine .. with a grill like a microwave oven door to 'see' though.

The clever thing about Radar absorbing materials isn't about stopping them from penetrating the material (since anything conductive would do) but to stop the radar from being reflected.

Mac

Liam Jackson
07-31-2009, 02:40 PM
Puh-leeze gawd, don't make me dig out the manuals just find out I'm in the middle of another senior moment.
*******
Just did. I stand corrected.
Micro is damn near mid-ranged on the EM scale, so Faraday probably would work.

Lhun
08-02-2009, 02:40 AM
Well, since we're not talking about electricity, you don't actually need a faraday cage. A single sheet of shielding between the target and the weapon will protect the target. Against non-lethal microwave weapons, a wire mesh in clothes or even aluminium foil will protect the wearer. Or at least the covered parts of the wearer.

painkillers
08-02-2009, 11:31 PM
Thank you for your swift replies, now met with my tardy response :)

So, would the armour cause sparks and all sorts of light shows, because it could be that Microwaves could then be used as a kind of detector (my scientific knowledge is minimal - in case you hadn't guessed :~) )

Like i said before just curious, but now ideas are starting to come.

efkelley
08-03-2009, 01:24 AM
Tinfoil in the microwave causes sparks and light shows. I am not exactly sure why since the shielding that prevents a microwave from cooking everyone standing near it does not. It probably has to do with the irregular shape.

Where was that Mythbusters episode.....

Lhun
08-03-2009, 08:28 AM
Microwave radiation will cause inductive currents in metal, which will cause sparks in tinfoil in the microwave. The shielding is grounded.
A non-lethal weapon shouldn't be powerful enough to produce a lot of sparks.

dmytryp
08-03-2009, 11:27 AM
I would be interesting to read the article. I am not exactly clear how are they planning to use microwaves as a weapon unless from a very short distance. Microwaves are very long wavelength and thus very low energy. That means almost no penetration and quick dissipation when in air. Their heating properties only due to the resonace with the water molecules in food, not due to power.

Oh, yeah, as was said, pretty easy to defend against -- any grounded metal foil or even a mesh (with sufficiently small holes) would protect just fine. Though if it isn't on the outside, it wouldnt prevent the layers of material between the metal and the emitter from heating.

Higgins
08-03-2009, 05:39 PM
I would be interesting to read the article. I am not exactly clear how are they planning to use microwaves as a weapon unless from a very short distance. Microwaves are very long wavelength and thus very low energy. That means almost no penetration and quick dissipation when in air. Their heating properties only due to the resonace with the water molecules in food, not due to power.

Oh, yeah, as was said, pretty easy to defend against -- any grounded metal foil or even a mesh (with sufficiently small holes) would protect just fine. Though if it isn't on the outside, it wouldnt prevent the layers of material between the metal and the emitter from heating.

I imagine the weapon would work by differentially heating the lower brain and/or upper spinal cord. The little shift in blood pressure should be enough to knock somebody out. A cool cup of coffee near the back of the head might be enough to block the attack.

mlazzer
08-03-2009, 05:41 PM
Microwave weapons? They go ping when they've hit something?

painkillers
08-04-2009, 02:22 AM
Article was in the New Scientist 25/july/09 page - 21

painkillers
08-04-2009, 02:10 PM
Thanks again for the responses. And thanks to ... er... Liam for the Thor Shield info. As far as i can make out from the New Sci, they intend to use Microwaves to heat up the skin of crowds and make them uncomfortable. Thanks again

efkelley
08-06-2009, 12:19 AM
On History last night there was an interesting special on Weapons of Tomorrow. Microwaves were mentioned in their lethal capacity, but they're best used against electronics. And I finally understand how plasma shields work. :)