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Characteristics of Electromagnetic Pulse Propagation in MetalIt is well known that the solution of the diffusion equation for an electromagnetic field with a time harmonic term, e(sup iwt), is in the form of a traveling wave whose amplitude attenuates over distance into a conducting medium. As the attenuation is an increasing function of frequency, the high frequency components attenuate more rapidly than those of low ones upon entering a well conducting object. At the same time, the phase velocity of an individual component is also an increasing function of frequency causing a broadening of the pulse traveling inside a conductor. In the results of our previous study of numerical simulations, the problem of using a gaussian input pulse was immediately clear. First, having the dominant frequency components distributed around zero, the movement of the peak was not well defined. Second, with the amplitude of fourier components varying slowly over a wide range, the dispersion-induced blurring of the peak position was seen to be severe. For the present study, we have used a gaussian modulated single frequency sinusoidal wave, i. e., the carrier, as an input pulse in an effort to improve the issues related to the unclear movement of peak and dispersion as described above. This was based on the following two anticipated advantages: First, the packet moves in a conductor at the group velocity calculated at the carrier frequency, which means it is well controllable. Second, the amplitude of frequency components other than that of the carrier can be almost negligible, such that the effect of dispersion can be significantly reduced. A series of experiments of transmitting electromagnetic pulses through aluminum plates of various thickness was performed to test the validity of the above points. The results of numerical simulation based on wave propagation are discussed with respect to the experimental results. Finally, a simple simulation was performed based on diffusion of a continuous sine wave input and the results are compared with those of a single frequency sinusoidal wave observed over time at difference locations inside a conductor.
Document ID
Document Type
Namkung, M. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Wincheski, B. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Nath, S. (General Electric Co. Schenectady, NY, United States)
Fulton, J. P. (General Electric Industrial System Plainville, CT, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Metals and Metallic Materials
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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