I ask this as I have just been looking at the designs fro the original series torpedo systems and was wondering if the magnetic seals on a torpedo would fail in the even of an EMP event.

The ship might be externally dampened from EMP but if someone beamed a device inside the ship to the torpedo room for instance, would this cause the seals to fail and subsequently the torpedoes to explode?

I realise I am not well versed in Physics but any pointers would be great, thank you.

Here is the corresponding diagram:

Internal schematic of a TOS period torpedo


2 Answers 2


Considering that radiation hardening is already a focus of research for military systems designers, it seems unlikely that systems built hundreds of years in our future wouldn't employ the most up to date components and techniques.

Active weapons system, such as photon torpedoes, are the kind of thing that you don't want to fail in any conceivable situation. Since EMP is well within the bounds of conceivable, the answer to your question is no.

  • Thanks, that does make sense. Just seemed that as the torpedo would be so small that hardening to those kinds of things would be less likely to be 100% perfect.
    – MrDobilina
    Apr 4, 2014 at 15:24
  • 1
    Nothing is 100% perfect. Engineering is about creating a design that works to a set of specifications. The Federation doesn't have the technology to protect a torpedo against EMP generated by a member of the Q Continuum, but I don't think the Federation engineers are going to lose much sleep over that. If a Star Fleet ship or facility armed with torpedoes is going up against a Q, the ability of said torpedoes to withstand EMP is the least of their problems. Apr 4, 2014 at 15:56

If it's a permanent magnet, no. EMP produces an electromagnetic field in a surrounding vicinity but it collects where ferrous metals attract to it. Non ferrous metals (aluminum, titanium) don't exhibit similar circumstances. Thus are less vulnerable. Faraday cages are insulated containers to resist electromagnetic fields. It's a safe bet antimatter containers use such devices.

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