Many people fear having to live in that end-of-world scenario after nuclear weapons have been unleashed.
The barren wastelands we get to see in the many post-apocalyptic Hollywood feature films are never pretty.
However, did you know that’s something much scarier than such? What’s this, you might ask?
Well, an EMP attack. EMPs can destroy anything connected to an electrical grid in an instance.
But does an EMP affect batteries?
This is what this article plans to answer today.
The truth is, most batteries can survive an EMP blast without getting damaged.
This is true for most common batteries out there, including nickel-metal hydride, alkaline, lithium-ion, and lead-acid batteries.
Only the more complicated battery types, like those with in-built charger controls and the like, are most likely to be affected by such a blast.
What’s An EMP?
An EMP, or electromagnetic pulse, is an energy wave that can occur naturally through solar flares and lighting strikes.
However, it can also be weaponized and used as an attack strategy.
It can even play second fiddle to nuclear war weapons. Coronal mass ejections, which are incredibly powerful solar flares, can also lead to EMP-level catastrophic events if they hit our planet Earth.
Yes, the force from such a blast might not be able to eliminate humans outright. However, it could still cause a lot of problems for us.
That said, EMP attacks would most likely come in the form of a missile detonated high above, not a direct hit. The magnetic force that’ll be released would have the potential of taking out a country’s entire electrical grid.
This might sound to you like just a massive power outage. However, it would probably be an ongoing long-term catastrophe.
The Aftermath Of EMP Attacks
It would take approximately one and a half years to fix an electrical grid that has been affected by an EMP blast.
And that’s if it can even be fixed at all.
A large number of public electric networks all across the globe are not only out of date but are also unprotected from such attacks. It would prove nearly impossible to rebuild without any working systems in place.
People that need medical support treatments and equipment like insulin, dialysis, oxygen, or life support to survive would be among the first to leave us.
Going to work would be a thing of the past, schooling will be non-existent, and you won’t even get money from your bank.
Things we’d lose include:
- Public utilities
- Medical facilities
- Fire, police, and emergency services
- News and broadcasting service
- Internet access
What’s even scarier is that you wouldn’t even have to conduct a major airstrike for you to take out all this infrastructure with an EMP. A few dirty bombs here and there would do the trick.
How Would EMPs Affect Batteries?
Most batteries won’t be affected by an EMP blast, and many of them should be able to survive unscathed.
They don’t need any protective measures. However, better safe than sorry. Taking some precautions to make sure they survive can’t hurt.
For the most part, anyway, batteries are kind of like their own tiny Faraday cages. Their outer layer is made of metal, and it doesn’t have any circuits or wires inside that can be fried by the blast.
However, the problem is that many people worldwide have come to rely so much on electronic devices that almost nothing uses the traditional, conventional battery anymore.
Most of the battery-powered devices also have microchips and circuit boards. A battery alone should be okay during such a blast, but the modern electronic devices that use batteries might need a little protection.
Alkaline vs. Lithium Batteries: Which Are More EMP Resistant?
Generally, most batteries can survive EMP blasts. Though there some who argue over which will handle the attack better. Some say that dry cell batteries won’t last as long in this situation compared to their wet cell battery counterparts.
This is not because one of them will be affected more by EMP voltage. It’s more because of the chemical composition and construction inside the batteries.
Wet cell batteries have lead-acid inside them, making them more stable. The conductive materials found inside the battery stay put because of the larger plates used to keep all the battery’s elements in place.
Dry cell batteries, on the other hand, have zinc powder. This can migrate and shift as the battery gets older, which, in turn, is what causes them to fail. This is what you’ll find inside most D, C, and A batteries.
We’re not saying that they’ll no longer work. It just that they’ve got a natural fail rate of around 41% or so with or without strong EMP blasts to complicate things even further.
Solar battery chargers might also be able to survive EMP attacks. You should consider getting a solar energy charger to keep in your survival kit. The batteries that’ll most likely get a bit affected are NiMh/NiCd/Lilon kind.
They’re the ones you’ll find mostly in mobile and laptop devices. However, the interior is often constructed using tiered foil.
Some also have microcontrollers or charge controller ICs that have been installed to prevent overcharging your electronic devices, which can be affected by EMP blasts.
How To Protect Your Battery-Powered Devices
The best place to store your batteries and electrical devices during such scenarios is in a Faraday cage.
Official faraday cages can cost quite a lot. However, sealed metal barriers and cages can make excellent alternatives as well.
Even a tin foil-wrapped cardboard box or metal shed can offer your belongings some protection.
The exception to these is storage sheds, warehouses, or garages that have an electric grid connection and have many interior outlets that can lead the EMP inside the structure.
You can build your own makeshift Faraday cage using a lidded metal garbage can. Line the can’s interior with bubble wrap or corrugated cardboard, which will act as your barrier.
The metal can act as a conductor for the EMP’s electric charge, and the protective lining will prevent it from frying the things inside. You can also buy military-grade Faraday bags if you’re not the do-it-yourself type.
You can get them quite inexpensively on Amazon. They’re portable and can store smaller items such as spare cell phones, portable radios, and, of course, batteries themselves. They’re ideal for those who won’t need the bigger barriers.
What You Can Store In A Faraday Cage
It’s time you free your storage from those old appliances. If you’ve still got them, that is. Everything you want to be kept safe should be placed inside a metal barrier that has a non-conductive interior.
This includes things like flashlights, portable radios and car batteries. Below are a couple of things you can store inside your Faraday cage.
Batteries of all sizes
Be it Cs, AAs, AAAs, 9-Volts, etc. Even car batteries as well
Spare electrical car components
Ignition switches can get destroyed or damaged by EMP blasts. Think about purchasing a used main computer you can store in the Faraday cage for your car.
Battery backups and an old laptop
The internet might no longer be operational during such situations, however, you can still store downloaded files with survival guides and other important information.
Download as much survival content as you can and keep them in the old laptop you’ve chosen to store inside your Faraday cage.
Since there won’t be any electricity, banks and ATMs will most likely not be operational.
Solar generator spare parts
Gas-powered generators will stop working once you run out of gas, and most storage tanks and pumps are powered by electricity. The part that’s most likely to be affected by an EMP blast is the solar power inverter.
For all the electronic devices you intend on keeping in the cage.
EMP blasts pose a genuine threat to your safety. Yes, they might not be able to harm you directly. However, they can cause severe long-term damage to all electrical infrastructure in its path.
Keeping your batteries and electronics safe from electromagnetic pulses should be something of a priority.
However, does an EMP affect batteries?
If you’ve read until here, then you’ll know the answer to this question is clearly ‘no.’
They’re constructed in a way that makes them EMP resistant by default. Though, if you’re a savvy prepper, you know that you should always have a stockpile of batteries in your storage at any given time.
You can never really be over-prepared. Even if you never experience going through an EMP attack, it’s always best to be safe rather than sorry.
Hopefully, this article will show you how to be this way. It’s never too late to start keeping things safe.