Electromagnetic compatibility is the control of Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) so that unwanted effects are prevented. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is the ability of an electrical system or equipment to function as designed whilst exposed to an electromagnetic environment. This is achieved by limiting the unintentional generation, propagation and reception of electromagnetic energy, which may cause unwanted effects such as Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) or physical damage to a piece of equipment.
Electromagnetic Compatibility mitigates interference by addressing any of these issues. In practice engineering techniques, such as grounding and shielding apply to all areas.
A combination of these controls may all be used at once however, often one approach will suffice to reduce the risks to an acceptable level.
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) began to present as an issue with accidental electrical spark discharges occurring in coal mines and during aircraft refuelling often with devastating results including fire and explosions. Static dischargers where developed to dissipate built up static electricity back into the atmosphere or ground to prevent accidental discharge.
From the 1970’s modern circuitry grew rapidly, which increased switching speeds (increased emissions) and lower circuit voltages (increase susceptibility). This lead to nations to issue directives to manufacturers that set out the specific requirements of electrical equipment, that needed to be met before they could be sold on markets.
From then to know there has been several major technological advancements including, mobile communications, Wi-Fi and broadcast media channels which has led to further regulation and information regarding modern Electromagnetic Compatibility.
Whilst there have been many developments in technologies throughout these years, the underlying need to protect electrical equipment and systems has never been more vital. Modern systems are more precise and expensive than ever and must still be protected against unwanted interference and failure. When complex electrical systems are engineered adequate controls must be designed in to mitigate unwanted risks and failures.
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