Test Your EQ (Engineering Quotient)

EQ #13

Is the signal carried by an “ideal” coaxial cable immune from external electric and magnetic fields? Explain.

Yes, an “ideal” coaxial cable forms a perfect shield against the influence of external fields.

First, consider the fields generated by the signal in the first place. The electric field exists only between the center conductor and the surrounding shield, within the dielectric of the cable. Both the center conductor and the shield have magnetic fields associated with the currents flowing within them, but it’s easy to show that the net magentic field outside the shield is zero.

Thus, the signal in the coaxial cable produces neither type of field outside the shield. Applying the principle of reciprocity, it’s impossible for an external field of either type to affect the signal.

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