Popular Types of Cable Shielding

Popular Types of Cable Shielding

All the electronic and electric systems have become complex like never before. The increased distance signals have accelerated electrical interferences in cables. These signal interferences can be either electromagnetic interference, radio frequency interference, or electrostatic interference. Due to which, it has become essential to shield the electrical cables to combat the side effects arise henceforth.

Shielding provides more than a layer of insulation around cables to prevent them from emitting or absorbing any sort of disturbance. However, you can choose the suitable type of shielding only when you can gauge the exact type/level of signal interference. Usually, the sources of interference are – static noise, magnetic noise, common-mode noise, and crosstalk. All of these are responsible to decrease or disrupt your signal quality, cause data loss and even lead to equipment failure.

Here is a detail of the most common types of shielding used for cables across different locations –

Foil Shielding

It is a shielded cable that uses an encasement made up of copper or aluminum to provide 100% coverage and has got a tinned copper drain wire for easy termination. It is very lightweight and easy to use. It offers great resistance to EMI and provides protection against higher frequencies (greater than 15 kHz).

Though this type of shielding is inexpensive and flexible, it is fragile and not durable like its counterparts. This makes it incompatible to use for high-flex applications.

Braid Shielding

This is the oldest form of shielding used in industries till now.  It basically consists of stranded wires interwoven together to provide protection against low frequencies (up to 15 kHz) with coverage around 55% to 95%.

Made up of bare, tinned, silver- or nickel-plated copper wires, a braided shield has a high physical strength and higher conductivity. However, it is quite bulky and expensive.

Spiral Shielding

It is similar to braid shielding with the only difference that the stranded wires in spiral shielding are applied spirally and not interwoven. This makes the shield more flexible than a woven braid and great resistor to EMI.

It offers shield coverage of approximately 95% and is most recommended to use for audio applications and microphone cables.

Tape Shielding

It is made of different types of materials. It consists of layers of copper, aluminum, and bronze combined with an adhesive and a drain wire. Its properties are pretty much the same as the foil shielding and offer 100% coverage.

However, tape shielding is fragile in nature and has got less mechanical strength due to which it can serve specific applications only.

Identifying the right type of EMI/RFI shielding is not always easy. Fortunately, with the pros and cons of each type, you can decipher which one would suit your application environment the best.

For more precise cable shielding information, you can contact 3G Shielding Specialities to avail leading-edge solutions for shielding advanced electronic applications.