For more than 100 years, the car has simply been used as a device for transporting a driver and passengers from point A to point B at speed with minimum effort.
With the introduction of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and other semi-autonomous driving technologies, a different concept of the vehicle is emerging. In the future, the car will be a media playback center, telephone, office and extension of the home’s living room which also happens to be able to convey passengers from A to B.
This is having a profound effect on the characteristics and on the sheer number of electronics systems in new vehicles and this, in turn, will dramatically extend the demands on the EMI shielding devices used to attenuate the radiated emissions that could affect circuits in the car. EMI shielding materials will need to perform over a wide range of frequencies, in more applications as electronic systems take over more and more aspects of the car’s driving operations while adding as little as possible to the weight of the vehicle.
The time for OEMs to consider the options for achieving EMC in new car designs is at the start of a new design project before the electrical and mechanical features of the vehicle’s systems have been decided. This gives design engineers the opportunity to bring considerations of EMI and shielding devices into the design process and enable optimization of the size, cost and performance of EMI shielding in the final system.
Top challenges of next-generation 5G networks
- The first challenge for automotive design engineers is the range of frequencies that need to be attenuated will be far greater in new cars than it was in the past. Until recently, the main frequencies of interest were the AM and FM bands used by radio and frequencies below 3GHz used by Bluetooth radio and mobile phone networks.
With the future introduction of 5G mobile phone network coverage, frequency coverage of EMI shielding materials will need to be extended. A higher frequency range is not the only issue. Cars are also going to support a much greater number of wireless communications systems within the vehicle.
New strict measures to attenuate RF emissions in compliance with safety standards
The second challenge is that the effectiveness of EMI shielding is likely to be more tightly specified in the future as automotive manufacturers move towards a strict view of the functional safety of the electronics systems in cars, codified in the ISO 26262 functional safety standard.
So, what does this mean for the specification of EMI shielding materials?
Continuous development of new elastomer fillers
Parker Chomerics maintains an intensive research and development program aimed at producing new filler materials for electrically conductive elastomer products. An important goal for this research program is to produce EMI gaskets that can cover the broader frequency range of interest in autonomous vehicles while maintaining the desired mechanical characteristics. Parker Chomerics CHO-SEAL conductive elastomers are widely used in automotive systems and offer useful properties, including resistance to high temperatures and contaminants, and the ability to provide environmental sealing to protect circuits from the ingress of liquids.
These elastomer gaskets resist compression set, accommodate low closure force, and help control air flow. They are available in standard sheet form, extruded or custom shapes.
In addition, Parker Chomerics CHOFORM Form-In-Place automated EMI gasket material can be dispensed directly onto castings, machined metal and conductive plastic and is widely used in tightly packed electronic housings. This advanced technology allows dispensing of precise positioned gaskets in very small cross sections and can free up valuable packing space of up to 60%. CHOFORM offers excellent shielding effectiveness which exceeds 100dB between 200 MHz and 12GHz.
New opportunities for weight saving
The development of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles is leading to a huge increase in the number of electronics modules per vehicle. This increases the scope for car makers to reduce weight by replacing conventional metal housings with lighter conductive plastic housings. While the weight saving on each module might appear small, when multiplied across the 100 or more electronics modules, the total weight saving becomes invaluable.
Parker Chomerics PREMIER™ PBT-225 is a single-pellet conductive plastic for use in automotive housings. PREMIER PBT-225 offers excellent resistance to hydrolysis when exposed to extreme temperatures and provides for easy processing and uniform filler dispersion. As a result, EMI housings made from PBT-225 offer tightly controlled electrical and mechanical performance throughout complex geometries. A weight saving of 30% is also possible when replacing an equivalent metal or aluminum housing with PBT-225.
By collaborating early in development projects with Parker Chomerics, automotive system designers can ensure that their electronic and mechanical design is optimized for shielding purposes.
Learn more about Parker Chomerics EMI shielding and thermal solutions for the automotive Industry.
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This blog post was contributed by Mel French, marketing communications manager, Chomerics Division Europe.