HECS® – Using the Faraday Cage Principle for Outdoor Recreation

How can the Faraday cage principle be used for outdoor recreation? With this simple principle, HECS® has revolutionized the way people experience the great outdoors. 

What Is a Faraday Cage?

We attribute the Faraday cage to Michael Faraday, who was known for his work with magnetism and electricity, but it was Benjamin Franklin who inspired the idea. We’ve all heard about how Franklin used to fly kites in thunderstorms to attract electricity, so we know he was familiar with the concepts of electricity. 

With one of his experiments, he electrified a silver pint can to generate a charge. He then lowered a cork ball (uncharged), attached to a nonconductive silk thread into the can. Once he lowered the ball to the bottom of the can, he noticed that the ball wasn’t attracted to the interior sides of the can. However, when he took the ball out of the can, the ball was attracted to the outside of the can. Franklin was perplexed by these events and didn’t know, or couldn’t explain, why this happened, but this was the seed that was planted for the Faraday cage.

Fast forward decades later where Michael Faraday comes into the picture. Faraday came to the realization that when an electrical conductor, like a metal cage, was charged, that charge was only on its surface, meaning that the inside of the cage wasn’t affected.

Faraday conducted a couple of experiments to come to this conclusion. One experiment involved him lining a room with metal foil. He charged the foil with an electrostatic generator. Then he placed an electroscope inside the room and his suspicions were verified. The electroscope showed that there was no electrical charge in the room. The charge only moved along the metal foil.

To further explain this, Faraday conducted his famous ice pail experiment, which was essentially the same experiment as Franklin. Faraday lowered a charged brass ball into an ice pail, and as he suspected, his results were the same as Franklin’s. 

Thanks to Faraday’s experiments and observations, we have gained an understanding about electrical conductors and how electrical charges react with them. This has led to many useful things we use in our everyday lives. 

Faraday Cages in Everyday Life

The concept of a Faraday cage is common in our everyday lives. An airplane is a prime example that everyone can relate to. It actually isn’t uncommon to be struck by lightning when flying in an airplane. Don’t let that frighten you from flying, because the principle of a Faraday cage keeps you safe. When lightning strikes the aircraft, the metal frame of the plane is your Faraday cage. The electricity is distributed throughout the body of the plane which keeps you and all the instruments inside the plane safe. 

It’s the same exact thing for your vehicle. It isn’t the rubber tires that keep you from getting electrocuted. It’s the metal frame of the car. 

So why does a Faraday cage work? The science behind it is actually simple. Take a metal object. This could be something like an aluminum mesh which acts as a conductor. These conductors, metal objects in this case, have the same number of positive and negative charged particles moving in them. 

When an external source with an electric charge comes close or in contact with the conductor, the positive and negative particles separate. The electrons that have a charge opposite to the external source are drawn in while the particles with the same charge are repelled, and this is known as electrostatic induction.

While the external electrically charged object is present, the positive and negative particles in the conductor go to opposite ends, which creates an electrical field that cancels the external object’s charge inside the metal conductor. 

So, think back to the airplane example. Here’s what happens:

  • The bolt of lightning (external source) strikes the plane
  • The metal the airplane is made from (the Faraday cage) is in contact with the lightning
  • The positive and negative particles in the metal disperse to opposite ends
  • The electrical field is created
  • The people and instruments are safe inside because the lightning bolt’s charge is canceled inside the airplane

How Can a Faraday Cage Be Useful for Outdoor Recreation?

To answer this question we need to talk about how mammals, birds and fish can sense electromagnetic waves and radiation. 

Birds have a keen sense of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). They can actually see them, but why? It has been known that birds can see the Earth’s magnetic field and have used it for migratory purposes, but we never knew how or why. There were two studies that came from Europe (both Sweden and Germany), where they were analyzing two species of birds: the European robin and zebra finches. In this study, they found that the two species of birds had a protein in their eyes called Cry4. 

Cry4 comes from the protein class cryptochrome, which is sensitive to blue light, and seems to point to the reason why birds are able to see EMFs. Some birds have higher amounts of Cry4 than others, so they may be more sensitive to EMFs than others. However, despite the amount, it’s amazing that birds have this keen sense of vision. 

Mammals and fish, too, have a keen sense to EMFs and electromagnetic radiation (EMR). This isn’t understood as well as it is with birds, but we know that other animals are able to pick up on something. 

With mammals, there’s a popular belief that the reason they’re able to detect or sense EMR is because of the magnetite in their brains. Animal experts are still searching for answers on this, but they can agree that there is something going on with their heightened senses.

What do the heightened senses of animals have to do with the Faraday cage principle? HECS® has the answer to that question. 

HECS® Suits – Designed with the Faraday Cage Principle

All species on Earth produce an electrical signal, and yes, this means humans too. This is caused through chemical reactions that are generated through normal bodily functions. Your nerves send electrical pulses to the brain daily. For instance, when you: move your muscles, your heart beats, you digest food, etc., your nerves are working and producing electrical signals which emits EMR, and this can be detected by wildlife. 

When your goal is to be around and get close to wildlife, your EMR is a huge factor. What if there was a way to conceal this? This is where the Faraday cage principle comes into play. At HECS®, we have considered the benefits of the Faraday cage and applied it to our clothing. 

HECS® clothing features a carbon grid that’s woven into the fabrics we use. This creates a Faraday cage that blocks any electric signals you produce from getting out. The example above (the airplane) talked about an external electric charge not being able to affect the inside of a cage, but the same thing happens with the reverse effect. 

An example of this is your ordinary microwave. The microwave you use is a Faraday cage, but rather than protecting the contents inside the box, you’re the one being protected from the electrical waves that are cooking your food. And this is how HECS® clothing works. Our apparel is designed to block your electrical signals from escaping. When this happens, wild animals aren’t able to detect you as well.

It’s important to note that our clothing does not make you invisible, rather, it’s designed to give you another element of concealment. When you’re outdoors, any animal will still be able to see you and smell you. But when your EMR is blocked, they’ll perceive you more as an inanimate object rather than a threat. 

This is how HECS® has revolutionized outdoor recreation. With HECS® clothing, there’s a new way to enjoy the outdoors. We know you’ll gain a positive experience, so check out our line today.