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Stainless-steel-filled compounds for EMI shielding, and enhanced impact performance

GE Advanced Materials : 19 July, 2004  (New Product)
LNP Engineering Plastics has introduced a new grade in its growing family of electro-conductive Faradex compounds. The new product
Faradex DS-1003 FR HI compound offers both EMI shielding and electrostatic dissipative (ESD) properties. It is highly effective against electromagnetic radiation sources, providing EMI attenuation between 20-60 dB, a range that satisfies most electronics and telecommunications applications.

The new grade is specially formulated to achieve balanced dispersion of the steel fibres – which make up one to two percent by volume and 10-20 percent by weight – during plasticisation to help maintain the fibre length/diameter (L/D) ratio for an optimal conductive network for shielding effectiveness.

Excellent impact resistance has been achieved by using GE Advanced Materials’ Lexan EXL polycarbonate (PC) resin as the new Faradex compound’s base resin. This tough PC material maintains impact strength at both elevated and low temperatures (9 KJ/m2 at -45C), offering high flow and a good balance of high-performance properties. It has been formulated with a halogen-free flame retardant in compliance with Blue Angel and TCO’98 green requirements resulting in a UL 94 V0 flammability listing at thicknesses of 2.1 mm.

Traditionally, electronic devices have been shielded from EMI energy by installing thin metal shields or by using conductive paint, electroless plating, or vacuum metallisation. However, each of these approaches has had its challenges. Metal shields are often difficult to use in complex configurations and add weight and thickness at a time when the trend is toward lighter, smaller, thinner devices. While paint, plating, and metallisation add minimal weight and thickness, they are applied via secondary operations that can be costly.

Because the new FARADEX DS-1003 FR HI compounds use stainless steel, the new product not only deflects but also conducts electromagnetic waves, providing more effective and permanent shielding. It can offer weight reduction vs. metal shields, cost reduction vs. surface treatments, plus greater effectiveness in complex designs – all in a single moulding step.

Faradex DS-1003 FR HI compound is targeted at a variety of electrical and electronics applications, such as local-area-network (LAN) connection boxes, traffic-control systems, credit-card payment devices, cash dispenser components, and smoke detector housings. The new grade is also an excellent candidate for chassis and enclosures for notebook and desktop computers, servers, workstations, and flat-panel displays. Versus other conductive compounds that use carbon black or carbon fibre, the stainless steel fibre used in Faradex DS-1003 FR HI compound can deliver superior aesthetics to such applications and is less abrasive to tooling.
The new product also meets the chemical resistance requirements of Telecordia, NEBS, and European Telecom Standards.

As a world leader in the development and manufacture of specialty polymer compounds, GE offers a number of conductive polymer lines. Its lead brand is the fully compounded, pre-coloured Faradex family of compounds. Products in this family are generally isotropic compounds, reducing warpage concerns, with a shrinkage rate similar to their unfilled base resins. Other properties are dependent on the base resin used.

“With Faradex DS-1003 FR HI compound, we’ve solved two challenges with one product,” said Nitin Apte, global product manager, GE Advanced Materials. “EMI is effectively shielded thanks to the stainless steel fibres, and Lexan EXL resin has given us the impact strength our customers require. The chemical resistance, conductivity, excellent flow, non-halogen FR, and other outstanding properties this new product provides are icing on the cake.”
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