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Q & A: Putting the Break on a Radio-Controlled Car

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
What materials will prevent radio waves from being transmitted to a receiver? My brother has a radio controlled car, and I put it in a metal box, but the controller still operated the car.
- Cassie (age 11)
Bancroft Middle School, Long Beach, California
A:
Cassie -

You should be able to do this by using a box made of metal, but it will need to be a type of metal that conducts electricity well - like aluminum or copper. Radio waves are actually made up (in part) of small electrical fields, so it should be possible to block them with metal if it's conductive enough. But the metal in the box may need to be pretty thick in order to the trick - I don't know exactly how thick, but you should be able to experiment a bit to find out. Also, the box has to surround the car completely - any holes (even not having the bottom surface covered with metal) will allow the radio waves to get in.

-Tamara & Dan

(published on 10/22/2007)

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