Lightweight Aviation RFI Protection

| Environmental Testing

RFI sleeving for aerospace cabling also provides environmental protection

Powertrain company develops EMI shielding components for the commercial aerospace industry.

In a move that takes a US powertrain specialist company closer to the aerospace industry, Tenneco has released a range of RFI shielding products that combine EMI protection with an environmental barrier.

With its history firmly associated with the automotive industry, Tenneco has long pioneered a complementary product set that provides protection to vehicle wiring looms against the element. With motor vehicles becoming increasingly connected and with the RF environment becoming more crowded, the path was paved to combine this environmental protectivity with EMC characteristics.

This year, Tenneco has now been taking its products around the air shows to attract the aerospace industry towards its products, the latest of which is the company’s combined EMI and weather shielding sheaths for aviation wiring systems.

According to Janice Maiden, Senior Vice President, Global Systems Protection at Tenneco Powertrain division, by optimising the construction and arrangement of each element in the material, Tenneco has been able to drive down weight while maintaining exceptional shielding performance across both high and low frequencies.

“We have been focused on maintaining water repellent properties, which minimises the risk of icing or water ingress degrading system performance,” she says.

Cable shielding

EMI shielding protects against unintentional radio frequency emissions as well as the reception of electromagnetic disturbances in a circuit or wiring harness. These disturbances can create a variety of unwanted effects, such as causing computer-controlled systems to power-up or fail. As the use of electronic controls and equipment continues to increase on aircraft, there is a growing need to ensure that the electrical and electronic architecture are protected from EMI, usually by specially designed protective sleeving.

Environmental Protection

Tenneco’s range of materials for effective EMI management combines EMI shielding with a number of other valuable properties. The composition and specification is tailored for specific applications and has been developed and refined over many years.

The most recent developments are the ROUNDIT EMI XWS and NX EMI products with optimised, weight-saving wire filaments. The shields are all self-wrapping, so can be easily installed on wire harnesses, while allowing the protected assembly to be re-opened for inspection and maintenance. The sleeving can be installed during initial harness assembly or after complete systems are assembled, in the event that an EMI concern is detected and correction required. The design of the shielding offers an innovative method for the protection of breakout areas and enables users to stock a limited range of sizes to cover a wide range of cable and wire diameters. Thanks to their geometry and metal insertion, they are also easy to combine with existing harnesses and looms.

Also, the water repellent nature of the materials prevents the absorption of condensation caused by repeated temperature fluctuations in flight and resists all commonly available cabin fluids.

Mechanical properties protect against chafing, cutting, abrasion and flames enabling vulnerable services to be enclosed in lightweight woven sleeves manufactured from a combination of fibres to suit the required properties, including RFI protection. In this way, the composition and specification are tailored for specific applications and have been developed and refined over many years.

In addition, the weaves are expandable, allowing the sleeves to be fitted over irregular features such as connectors, and in many cases are self-wrapping, allowing for easy removal and replacement during maintenance.

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