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Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Definition - What does Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) mean?

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) is the ability of different electronic devices and components to work correctly even in the presence of other devices that emit electromagnetic waves. This means that each piece of equipment emitting EM waves or disturbances must have it limited to a certain level and that each individual device must have adequate immunity to EM disturbances in the environment it is meant to function in.

Techopedia explains Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)

Electromagnetic compatibility is also an entire branch of electrical engineering, a field of study concerned with the unintentional generation, propagation and reception of electromagnetic waves that cause unwanted effects on electronic equipment such as electromagnetic interference (EMI) or even physical damage. A good example of electronic devices not being electromagnetically compatible are speakers and cellular phones. When a phone is set next to a speaker, it does not react because the EM wave emissions are minimal, but when there is an incoming call or message the EM waves emitted are stronger and these are caught in the speaker's coils, generating electricity that makes the speaker produce static sound.

Electromagnetic interference can cause damaging effects to various technologies, which is why electromagnetic compatibility aims to control this interference in order to mitigate risk of equipment damage.

Disciplines related to the promotion of electromagnetic compatibility and control of electromagnetic interference include:

  • Threat characterization – Finding relevant EM emission threats
  • Setting of standards for emission and vulnerability levels – Standardizing what level of emissions are acceptable
  • Designing for standard compliance – Designing a standard for designers and manufacturers to comply to
  • Testing for standard compliance – Testing the designs for compliance and adherence to standards
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