Electromagnetic interference (EMI) poses a threat to the performance and efficiency of technology everywhere. No wonder, electrical engineers, and designers have made countless attempts to block, or at least limit, the effects of EMI. One of the most preferred methods is fabric shielding gaskets, which are readily available in the market. But of the countless varieties, none have proved more useful than fabric over foam shielding gaskets. These easy-to-configure components are created with a fiber cloth like nylon yarn or synthetic polyester covered with nickel or copper and can be molded into different shapes and sizes. But most importantly, fabric over foam shielding gaskets offer protection par excellence against EMI, which makes them a valuable commodity in the industry.
Now, a lot of you might be wondering what separates this variation from other traditional gaskets available in the market. Is fabric over foam shielding gaskets the best choice to guard your expensive electronic products and gadgets against EMI? Read about the features, work process, and usage benefits of fabric over foam shielding gaskets below to make an informed decision:
- More Than Just EMI Shielding
Electromagnetic interference shielding might be the reason why fabric over foam shielding gaskets are popular, but it is hardly their sole function. Due to the inclusion of copper and nickel in the fiber material, these gaskets enjoy increased durability, reduced resistance, and improved shielding performance between 65 dB and 80 dB. The host materials also make the component highly malleable. So, aside from optimized performance, you enjoy the twin benefits of low compression and simple installation. As far as shielding performance is concerned, it’s impressive how well the gasket fends off EMI radiation even when the temperature dips as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or goes as high as 158 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Unique Design
Structure: It has always been an important, yet sorely overlooked aspect of EMI shielding. If a particular gasket has a rigid structure, it cannot accommodate various applications. This is where fabric over foam shielding gaskets gain an edge over other types in the market. Their cellular design allows them to slide easily through spaces, thanks to a no-fuss installation. What this means is, manufacturers are free to modify the design of these gaskets to fulfill their specific shielding needs.
Shape: Fabric over foam shielding gaskets come in different shapes, which to a casual observer might appear random. A closer look, however, reveals that the components feature four shapes only, each resembling a letter of the alphabet. So, you have D-shaped gaskets, L-shaped ones, P-shaped, and U-shaped gaskets. This is a deliberate choice on the part of the manufacturer to eradicate unwanted radiations and maintain the efficiency and functionality of expensive electronic appliances and products.
The benefit of numerous shapes of fabric over foam shielding gaskets is not having to settle for a particular thickness and shape if it fails to meet your shielding requirements. Based on your choice of shape and material, the compression of the gaskets ranges anywhere between 30 percent and 75 percent, thereby resulting in material system tolerance.
Fabric over foam shielding gaskets is usually employed in applications that require minimal compression force in industries such as consumer electronics, automobile, military, and telecommunications. Also, the unique material composition of the gaskets makes them lightweight, easily customizable, and abrasion resistant. No wonder, these parts are extensively used in the production of sensitive electronic goods, including external and internal hard drives, telecom enclosure cabinets, IO connectors and gaskets, cabinet doors, printers, digital cameras, and card cage gaskets.
If that’s not all, fabric over foam shielding models belong to a new breed of gaskets that cause little to no harm to the environment, which is sure to go down well with electronics companies looking to go green. Manufacturers try to keep the components halogen-free and are tested thoroughly after production to ensure compliance.
Additional Safety: EMI shielding isn’t merely about performance, it’s about safety as well. And considering how fabric over foam shielding gaskets are commonly used in and around heavy machinery, it makes sense to follow the best security practices of all times. To be on the safe side, some manufacturers subject these parts through UL94-V0 burn test to ascertain whether they possess the necessary flame resistance. This might seem like a simple procedure, but it goes a long way in ensuring the safety of the setup as well as the costly equipment in the long run.
Fabric over foam shielding gaskets are nothing if not versatile, supporting a wide variety of uses and applications, as is evident from the following points:
- Electrical engineers and designers can easily fabricate fabric over foam gaskets as a single piece so that they become compatible with I/O panels found on different sorts of devices. What’s more, this kind of setup enables multiple connector apertures or positions to be shielded efficiently, through the implementation of a single gasket.
- Small portions of fabric over foam shielding gaskets may be used as grounding pads due to superior conductivity. The truth is, depending on the fabric, the surface resistivity of these products can go as low as 0/07 ohms/square.
- The metal covering the foam core is either a blend of tin and copper or nickel and copper. Both these mixtures allow for high levels of galvanic compatibility with a vast array of host materials. Even more interesting is the fact that both these versions show no signs of performance degradation even after environmental exposure, as is clear from the results of Accelerated Aging Tests.
The USP of fabric over foam shielding gaskets is, of course, their composition. Unlike regular gaskets, these models combine the much-needed conductive properties with high levels of abrasion resistance. The polyurethane foam core of these parts is easily configurable, while the blend of nickel and copper helps suppress the effects of EMI on devices. Thus, you can easily get fabric over foam shielding gaskets for numerous industries.The efficient design coupled with the low price of materials have contributed to its tremendous popularity, especially in the commercial electronic sector that involves high-volume production.