EMI Shielding Materials: Gaskets and Tapes
EMI shielding tapes and gaskets provide low cost, dependable protection from hazardous electromagnetic energy emitted from nearby devices, systems, and natural sources. There are an array of EMI gaskets and shielding tapes that can achieve exceptional attenuation levels, protecting sensitive electronics from hazardous, ambient RF band frequencies generated by motors, radios, nearby circuits and lightning.
EMI gaskets, shielding and gasket tapes offer an easy to apply solution for electronics and power critical devices used by virtually every industry, from aerospace to transportation. From home computer processors to highly complex avionics systems, EMI shielding tapes can wrap and conform to various electronic components. Alternatively, EMI gaskets can be custom molded to the shape of an assembly’s design, providing sealing between seams, joints and mated surfaces under pressure that require interference protection.
EMI gasket tape is also widely available, combining adhesion and custom molded design into one solution. The effectiveness of any EMI shielding product depends on a number of factors including the blocking material’s composition, shape, thickness and distance from the emitted source.
EMI Gasket and Shielding Tape Applications
• Electronic enclosures, cabinets and room shielding
• Cables, cable harnesses and connectors
• Printed circuit boards
• Consumer electronics
• RFID products
• LCD screens
• Military systems
• Medical devices
Understanding EMI Tapes and Shielding Gaskets
EMI Shielding Tapes
A wide range of multi-layered metallic, EMI shielding tapes are available, which can be die-cut to any shape for fitted installations onto components and enclosures. Shielding tapes are primarily integrated with metal foil strips made from copper, aluminum, tin-plated copper, or nickel-plated silver. Fabric backings can be also be applied for sensitive applications.
EMI shielding tapes are made with either conductive or nonconductive adhesives, manufactured with smooth or embossed backings that can facilitate electrical contact. Designed for long term durability, many EMI shielding tapes are corrosion, fire, abrasion, and static charge resistant. For printed circuit board assembly, EMI tape products are available with exceptional solderability characteristics.
The use of shielding tape on sensitive electronic components proactively eliminates the risk of minor, or potentially catastrophic, interference that could result in the loss of equipment, data, and life. In surgical electronics, military gear and more, shielding tape can be applied “on-the-fly” to amplify performance in rigorous or dangerous environments. For consumers, EMI shielding tape is ubiquitous in electronic devices, protecting components from everyday electrical and magnetic interference.
EMI Shielding Gaskets
EMI gaskets provide greater mechanical design flexibility for cushioning and sealing between mated surfaces. From gasket tape strips to custom O-rings and flanges, EMI gaskets can be molded according to the shape and size of the design’s surface mating profile.
Made using conductive silicone-elastomers, foams, and thermoplastics, the gaskets combine ideal sealing and shielding into one product. Silicone-elastomer gaskets contain varying combinations of silver, silver-aluminum, silver-copper, and silver glass particulate, the primary ingredient for EMI shielding and absorption. The effectiveness of an EMI gasket’s seal is crucial, as any deformities could potentially allow electromagnetic interference to leak into or escape from a protected component.
EMI gasket tapes and EMI gaskets reliably pressure seal sensitive screens, panels, and interface devices together. They’re typically preferred over shielding tape for enhanced compression between components and better handling of mechanical forces.
Low cost and easy to fabricate, EMI gaskets mitigate shock and vibration. Various conductive silicone compositions within shielding gaskets can be adjusted for sunlight, water, and temperature resistance, thereby further improving the performance capabilities for electronic assemblies.
The sheer magnitude of wideband, electromagnetic interference emitted from devices and systems requires added filtration to prevent malfunction or failure. EMI shielding, in both gasket and tape form, provides a low cost, customizable solution for protecting high quality or critical electronics.
Today, these products are tightly integrated into the component assembly and product design process. EMI shielding materials are a necessity for optimal performance in today’s digitized, wireless landscape that we all depend on.
Partnering with Robert McKeown Company
Since 1937, our team at Robert McKeown Company, Inc., has provided specialized, consultative engineering support for customers worldwide. As a reliable and leading resource for EMI shielding products, we provide samples, next-day prototypes, and assistance in determining the best configuration for your unique application requirements.