Conductive elastomers for automotive EMI shielding

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Nickel plated conductive elastomer
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Increasing demand for EMI protection in the automotive industry has led to the development of a range of conductive nickel plated elastomers with gap fill properties.

Although EMI and thermal issues have been prevalent in the military and aerospace sectors for many years, the rapid development and evolution of both automotive electronics and vehicle electric drive systems means that Chomerics is witnessing increasing numbers of automotive industry customers seeking innovative ways of overcoming these problems.

To discover the underlying reason for this trend, look no further than the increasingly high proliferation of electronic devices in vehicles, which has resulted in greater power consumption and power density. Although this demands the use of more efficient and more thermally conductive interface materials, in order to restrict weight and minimise costs, the automotive industry is pursuing more compliant materials that both fill air gaps with wider tolerances and can be compressed under relatively low loads.

It goes without saying that today’s automotive community demands ever increasing standards of performance, longevity and reliability, just like the aerospace and defence sectors. However, the high volume nature of automotive applications requires an entirely different cost dynamic.

Automotive gap filler padOf course, any ‘low cost’ technical answer has to bear quality regulations in mind. The close proximity of multiple electronic devices that have to operate in vehicles without causing interference has resulted in increasingly stringent standards. Furthermore, the advent of radars, higher frequency electronics and third party devices such as mobile telephones and navigational aids, means that shielding materials must prove effective in demanding operating conditions.

With all this in mind, Chomerics can now offer a host of different products for common automotive applications that take into account variables such as the fluids, vibration and temperature cycling to which a specific EMI gasket may be subjected. For example, an EMI gasket for use in the passenger cabin may not be suitable for the engine compartment, where elevated temperatures come into play.

Nickel-plated conductive elastomers tend to deliver sufficient levels of EMI shielding for most applications and offer galvanic compatibility with aluminium structures under typical conditions, while regarding thermal interface materials, the recent development of one-component silicone gel technology has enabled the use of lighter structures with wider tolerances on electronic housings.

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