Radio-frequency interference (RFI), a subset of electromagnetic interference (EMI), is defined as the electrical noise or disturbance generated by an external source that adversely affects the operation of an electrical or electronic circuit. This disturbance may be in the form of electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction.
Radio-frequency interference can degrade the performance of equipment or even prevent it from functioning. In some cases, RFI may also cause damage to digital and solid-state equipment. In the case of data transmission, adverse RFI effects can range from increases in error rate to total loss of data.
Interference signals can be generated by both man-made and natural sources, some of which include ignition systems, cellular network signals, solar flares, lightning, and auroras. On a more localized level, RFI can also originate from the interaction between internal electrical and electronic components.
Radio-frequency electromagnetic interference can cause problems between circuits if they are not adequately separated. This is often a serious concern in sectors such as aerospace and the medical devices industry. Precautionary measures must be taken to ensure that interference between multiple circuits do not cause the products in question to malfunction or fail. With that in mind, using RFI absorbing materials is a necessary precaution that can seal off one circuit from another.
Even the smallest amount of interference can cause a loss of performance within a system and could eventually lead to disastrous consequences. The RFI absorbing materials that we offer at Robert McKeown Company often come in the form of gaskets and other seals which can successfully negate any RFI problems within your electronics.
Radio-frequency interference (RFI) absorbing and shielding blocks the intrusion of radio frequency or electromagnetic radiation from one circuit to another. They can also be used to prevent radio frequency interference originating from external sources. Shielding is typically achieved by separating components with a barrier constructed from highly specialized conductive materials known as RFI absorbing materials.
RFI absorbing/shielding materials come in many forms and are highly versatile. They can be used to protect electronic equipment in several ways including:
- Containment – Preventing the escape of RFI produced by a device by limiting interference to a particular area.
- Exclusion – Preventing the intrusion of interference generated from a specific device on another device.
- Pressure sealing – In addition to RFI shielding, these materials also provide adequate pressure seals.
- Grounding – In this case, shielding also provides a means of grounding imperfectly grounded structures.
- Absorption – As opposed to shielding, which deflects RFI interference, absorbers use ferrites and ferrite-filled materials to absorb certain frequencies, converting them into other forms of energy such as heat.
RFI shielding and RFI absorbing materials can be used to manufacture electronic device components that will provide efficient absorption and shielding. Some of the most common components produced from shielding/absorbing materials include, but are not limited to:
- Molded and die-cut RFI gaskets
- Molded RFI seals
- Spliced RFI seals and gaskets
- Flat washers
- Plate seals
- O-rings and D-rings
- RAM seals and gaskets
- Interfacial window seals
RFI seals and gaskets are vital in ensuring the optimal performance and safety of equipment in a wide range of industries including:
- Consumer electronics
- Manufacturing Electrical and electronics
There are a multitude of RFI shielding and absorbing materials available, each with different a range of properties and characteristics that lend themselves to numerous applications, industries, and operating environments. It is therefore essential that the requirements of the particular application be carefully analyzed to ensure that the most appropriate RFI shielding/absorbing material is selected.
Robert McKeown Company offers a wide range of elastomeric seals and gaskets fabricated from conductive elastomers that provide shielding benefits combined with effective environmental sealing across a broad range of temperatures. Our comprehensive array of products are custom-manufactured from high-quality elastomeric materials, including: Silicone (solid & sponge) Fluorosilicone Fluorocarbon Neoprene (solid & sponge) EPDM rubber These conductive elastomer materials are typically embedded with various types of filler material including:
- Nickel-coated graphite
- Silver-coated nickel
- Silver-coated aluminum
- Silver-coated copper
- Pure silver particles
We also offer an array of cost-effective shielding tapes for containing signals emitted by electronic components. These specially formulated conductive adhesives offer superior static drainage, eliminating potentially damaging static build-up. The chemical composition of the conductive adhesive also provides relatively low contact resistance between the substrate and the tape backing.
Our aluminum, copper, or tinned copper foil-shielded tapes are highly versatile and can be used for a variety of commercial uses. Our tape products can also be die-cut and customized for any unique absorbing or shielding application.
Electrical and electronic circuits are extremely sensitive to interference from numerous man-made or natural sources. Interference may manifest itself as noises in communication devices, flickering in televisions and computer monitors, instrumentation errors, computer network reliability issues, and malfunctioning electronics.
Absorbing and shielding materials act as barriers that prevent radio frequency interference from reaching sensitive components, ensuring that electronic circuits function as intended. Since RFI can also result in equipment damage, proper shielding and absorption can significantly enhance the service life of electrical and electronic equipment. Additionally, some RFI seals and gaskets serve secondary functions, such as pressure sealing.
Robert McKeown Company’s vast array of absorbing and shielding products can be used in almost any equipment or device. These include:
- Personal computers
- Mobile phones
- Consumer electronics
- Military equipment
- Medical and pharmaceutical laboratory equipment
- LCD cables
- Telecommunication devices
- Aviation instrumentation
- Automotive control systems
Regardless of the application or industry, RFI complications must be avoided to ensure that electrical and electronic devices work as effectively and accurately as possible. At Robert McKeown Company, we draw on more than eight decades of experience to help you select the right materials to block radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation and protect your sensitive equipment.
Each job is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, the custom manufacture of products using RFI absorbing materials is crucial to your project’s success. McKeown’s in-house engineering team will work closely with you to develop a customized product for your RFI blocking needs. Our comprehensive range of capabilities also allows us to produce parts that meet or exceed even the most demanding industry specifications.
Thank you for stopping to learn more about our RFI absorbing materials. If you have any questions, or you would like to get started on a project right away, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-631-1125, contact us online, or request a custom quote. Our team is eager to assist with your RFI shielding needs.
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