John S. Leahy

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering


Department of Engineering Physics

First Advisor

James C. Petrosky, PhD.


The purpose of this research was to evaluate an existing Van de Graaff generator facility for use as an EMP research tool. In order to assess the Van de Graaff, the unclassified Military Standard 464, which specifies a testing free field wave as having an intensity of 50 kV/m with a time-to-peak, of no more than 5 ns, was used as a baseline for free field analysis and this temporal standard used as a basis for generated currents. Unfortunately, the free field measurements were subject to substantial electronic interference from electromagnetic coupling from internal wall reflections, invalidating the assessment. Therefore the primary research focus was to replicate the temporal character of the current through the Van De Graaff, which would represent the most direct coupling that could be expected from a free field wave. The research indicated that the generated time-to-peak (a.k.a rise time) is an order of magnitude greater than that of the Military Standard 464. The fall time is much faster than specified in Military Standard 464 due to substantial ringing in the line. Proposed improvements to the VDG system are described in this thesis.

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