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Ultra-Lightweight Protection Shielding Material Against Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Pulse for Avionics


RT&L FOCUS AREA(S): General Warfighting Requirements


OBJECTIVE: Develop an ultra-lightweight carbon-based nanostructure composite shielding material capable of replacing metal shielding for naval electronic and avionics equipment for counter electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic pulse (EMI/EMP) defense.

DESCRIPTION: Recently, various functional nanocomposites are emerging as a new class of EMI/EMP shielding materials with light weight and high functionality. For instance, polymer matrices embedded with carbon-based conductive materials have been demonstrated to attain excellent shielding performance.

It is the objective of this program to develop an ultra-lightweight EMI/EMP shielding material, based on the most state-of-the-art graphene composite, that will form a protective shield for naval avionics and other electronic systems against EMI/EMP threats. The graphene composite should be integrated with lightweight polymer to form conformal shield material that can conform to any shapes and sizes of packaging. The conformal composite should have shielding effectiveness of more than 70 dB across the wide frequency range from 500 MHz to 100 GHz for the completely shielded sensitive electronics/avionics. The electrical conductivity of the graphene composite should be higher than 3000S/cm. The weight of the graphene-based shielding composite should weigh no more than 10% of an aluminum shield with equivalent EM shielding performance.

PHASE I: Develop a shielding material composite and fabrication method that meets shielding protection requirements. Use the proposed fabrication method to fabricate a sample of no smaller than 6 x 6 inches in size with appropriate thickness that will meet the shielding protection requirements. Demonstrate the feasibility of the material design via experimentally characterizing the electromagnetic performance of the sample relative to the metal analog in terms of shielding effectiveness over the frequency range from 500 MHz to 100 GHz, in accordance with the MIL-STD requirements [Refs 5, 6, 7, 8]. The Phase I effort will include prototype plans to be developed under Phase II.

PHASE II: Develop, demonstrate and validate a three-dimensional (3-D) enclosure prototype for EMI/EMP shielding protection for naval avionics and electronics. The enclosure prototype dimension should be12x24x6 inches. Perform reliability testing of the prototype enclosure in accordance with MIL-STD 810 [Ref 8] and report the test results. Deliver one prototype for independent testing.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Finalize and elevate the EMI/EMP shielding material system. Perform system prototype demonstration in a field environment. Transition the shielding materials to various naval applications such as manned and unmanned air vehicles, radio communication systems, air defense systems, and all avionics and electronics that are vulnerable to EMI/EMP disruptions.

Commercial avionics and electronics can benefit from improved ultra-lightweight shielding of EMI/EMP. Broad and beneficial shielding applications of this type of innovative shielding materials such as any wearable and mobile electronic devices, portable computers, cellular phones, smart watches, and portable/wearable medical devices are envisioned.


  1. Pereira, V. and Kunkolienkar, G.R. “EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse) weapon technology along with EMP shielding & detection methodology [Paper presentation].” Conference Proceedings of the 2013 Fourth International Conference on Computing, Communications and Networking Technologies (ICCCNT), Tiruchengode, India, July 4-6, 2013, pp. 1-5.   
  2. Altun, M.; Karteri, I. and G√ľnes, M. “A study on EMI shielding effectiveness of graphene based structures [Paper presentation].” 2017 International Artificial Intelligence and Data Processing Symposium (IDAP 2017), Malatya, Turkey, September 16-17, 2017, pp. 27-31.  
  3. Ismach, A.; Druzgalski, C.; Penwell, S.; Schwartzberg, A.; Zheng, M.; Javey, A.; Bokor, J. and Zhang, Y. “Direct chemical vapor deposition of graphene on dielectric surfaces.” Nano letters, 10(5), 2010, pp. 1542-1548.  
  4. Hu, G.; Kang, J.; , Ng, L., Zhu, X.; Howe, R.; Jones, C.G.; Hersam, M.C. and Hasan, T. “Functional inks and printing of two-dimensional materials.” Chemical Society Reviews, 47(9), 2018, pp. 3265-3300.  
  5. “MIL-STD-461G, Department of Defense interface standard: requirements for the control of electromagnetic interference characteristics of subsystems and equipment.” Department of Defense, December 11, 2015.  
  6. “MIL-STD-464C, Department of Defense interface standard: electromagnetic environmental effects, requirements for systems.” Department of Defense, December 1, 2010.  
  7. “MIL-STD-2169C, Department of Defense interface standard: high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (hemp) environment.” Department of Defense, March 31, 2020.  
  8. “MIL-STD-810H, Department of Defense test method standard: environmental engineering considerations and laboratory tests.” Department of Defense, January 31, 2019.
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