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Using Unconventional Materials for Electromagnetic Shielding
Keywords: Shielding, Electromagnetic, Unconventional Materials
The conventional material for electromagnetic shielding is sheet metal, usually one or more mm thick. This is appropriate for critical systems, such as defense and security, which would probably use robust amounts of metal for mechancial integrity anyway. Less critical applications can often use less robust material. Such unconventional materials include: Composites; Metal coating/plating of plastics or cloth; Metal screens; and absorbant coatings on the interior of the enclosures. The shielding material is only a part of the problem. Experience has shown that the principal ways that electromagnetic energy passes through the enclosure are, in order of importance: 1. Conductive Penetrations (wires, pipes, etc) 2. Apertures (particularly joints)and finally 3. Material of the wall. The physics of each of these mechanisms is reasonably well understood so that at least semi-quantitative estimates can be made of potential shielding techniques. The topological shielding concept, whereby one thinks of the system being surrounded by a boundary through which electromagnetic energy passes by the various mechanisms, is vital to this process. This is similar to how thermal shielding of a house (with walls, windows, doors, and conductive pipes) is analyzed. The physics of current techniques will presented with examples.
Lothar O. Hoeft, Consultant
Consultant, Electromagnetic Effects
Albuquerque, NM

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