11 Jan Critical Performance Variables for EMI Honeycomb Vents
As technology evolves, so do the products required for efficient operations. Electromagnetic interference can impact how devices perform. Computers, medical devices, navigation systems, and broadcast receivers need protection against interference to function properly. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding is crucial to functionality. Learn more about EMI honeycomb vents to find the best EMI shielding products for your specialized equipment.
Although there are many types of EMI shielding products on the market, EMI honeycomb vents are used to cool electronics through airflow and to provide electromagnetic shielding. EMI honeycomb vents are typically made of aluminum and come in assorted sizes to provide airflow and shielding. Aluminum is a lightweight material that is strong enough to be effective in many applications. When more shielding is required, it can be added to the ventilation panels to meet your design specifications.
There are three critical performance variables that influence the selection of a honeycomb vent: material composition, airflow and attenuation. Let’s examine them in more detail.
Airflow & Attenuation
EMI honeycomb vent performances have many variables. Airflow and attenuation are directly related to each other. Attenuation is the measure of electromagnetic intensity before and after shielding. Good airflow may result in a lack of attenuation (EMI shielding), while strong attenuation can mean very little airflow. In most applications, you must find a way to balance these two needs for optimal performance.
In general, the selection or design of a honeycomb vent begins with the calculation of airflow performance requirements. These requirements must be able to meet the thermal performance needs of the assembly on which the vent will be installed. Once the appropriate airflow rate has been determined, attenuation and other requirements can be evaluated.
Here are some factors that influence airflow and attenuation performances:
- Cell sizes – the smaller the cells, the lower the airflow. However, you get more EMI shielding with smaller cells. Standard cell sizes for honeycomb are 1/16″, 1/8″ and 1/4″, with 1/8″ as the most common. Customization of the cell sizes can improve performance where you need it.
- Thickness – the thicker the walls of the honeycomb, the less airflow. Again, thicker honeycomb construction provides stronger shielding. Standard thicknesses are 1/4″, 1/2″ and 1″ with 1/4″ as the most common. Thickness can also be customized for your application.
- Cross-cell configuration – the cells can be configured to allow for more or less airflow and shielding through customized design.
- Plating – the honeycomb can be plated with nickel, tin, or zinc to increase performance. Plating can also improve durability.
Airflow and attenuation are often the priority when choosing the right honeycomb vent for an application. However, the materials that compose the honeycomb can determine the performance and price of the finished product. The standard materials are aluminum, stainless steel, steel, and brass.
- Stainless steel and brass are more durable than aluminum.
- Aluminum is the lightest material, but it does not have the same durability as the heavier materials. Plating can improve durability, but the final product should be evaluated for application suitability.
- Brass and stainless steel tend to be less corrosive than aluminum, but again, plating does improve corrosion-resistance.
- Brass and aluminum have more shielding capabilities, but this can vary based on many different properties and the creation process. Cell size and thickness can create different shielding levels, as can plating.
- Aluminum is generally the most affordable material, but it does depend on the application and the design.
Honeycomb vents can be frameless or framed as per customer’s needs. Frames can be machined or formed to fit the application. Honeycomb vents can have added physical protection or additional shielding depending on the use of the EMI shielding.
EMI Products Beyond Honeycomb Vents
EMI shielding is not limited to honeycomb vents. With many other design options, engineers can find the best way to increase EMI protection and effectiveness while staying within design specifications. Some of the other EMI shielding products include:
Sophisticated electronic devices require advanced shielding components that fit your budget without decreasing performance and effectiveness. Understanding the critical elements of EMI shielding can help you understand how to make the best choices in design and manufacturing. Whether your company produces medical devices that protect lives or are developing infrastructure to be used in space, EMI shielding must be designed to fit your unique specifications.
EMI honeycomb vents are one of many solutions that exist to protect equipment from EMI while providing adequate ventilation. Without EMI shielding, electronic devices can fail, which in many cases can be dangerous and expensive. Airflow, attenuation and material composition are the critical performance variables to consider when selecting the right honeycomb vent; the goal is to match these variables to your application requirements as closely as possible. If you cannot achieve the desired level of EMI shielding effectiveness for your application with off-the shelf products, consider a customized honeycomb vent design or a combination of two or more EMI shielding solutions.
Whatever your needs, The ID Group experts can help you find the best solution for your project. We offer off-the-shelf and custom-designed honeycomb vents to help you achieve the EMI shielding performances you need. In addition to honeycomb vents, we offer many other EMI products such as fingerstock gaskets, metalized fabric gaskets, conductive shielding gaskets and more. Ask our experts, they are here to help!