Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones, are key players in the military, search and rescue, and aerospace industries. To successfully execute a flight, UAVs require communication through ground-based radio systems. Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) can distort the communications, and degrade the quality of the global positioning system (GPS) signal, leading to an interference with the UAV’s internal compass. While there are several causes leading to UAV EMI, fortunately with the support of silicone gaskets specifically designed for EMI shielding, this issue is resolvable.
How does UAV EMI occur?
Most drones and UAVs rely on clear communications with a grounded system. If the signal is disrupted, this can cause the drone to lose its bearings and contact-ability. Sources of electromagnetic interference include targeting systems, high powered optics, telecommunications towers, batteries, large metal structures, and high voltage power lines, can cause drone interference and performance problems.
How are UAVs designed?
UAVs and drones are designed to be small and lightweight. Unlike traditional aircraft that commonly have several levels of EMI protection, commercial drones and UAVs aren’t designed to filter out the significant amount of radiated noise, to assist with keeping the product lightweight and the manufacturing cost down.
What are UAVs used for?
While it is commonly known for the use of drones and UAVs in defence and military settings, the product can be used for a range of services that are traditionally inaccessible to humans. UAVs can be used as a safety and protection measure to keep workers from unsafe environments, including the inspection of power lines and pipes. The vehicles can also be used in caves and closed areas that do not allow for humans to inspect. UAVs and drones have the potential to be gamechanger in the search and rescue industry. Furthermore, with the development of 5G networks, drones can become an important part of telecommunications architecture for wireless broadcasting and point-to-point transmission.
How will EMI shielding help UAVs?
Key components in a UAV require signalling from ground-based communications to work, including the radio controller and receiver, flight computer which is connected to the radio and failsafe switch, and the pulse width modulated amplifier chip. A shield protecting the components from electromagnetic interference will allow for the product to run smoothly and without disruptions.
Why are gaskets the best option for EMI shielding?
Many UAVs components are protected in specific enclosed spaces, with gaps between the surfaces of the product. To reduce electromagnetic interference, gaps need to be filled with elastomeric gaskets. Silicones are a good option for gaskets use in UAVs due to their temperature and environmental resistance. Furthermore, Silicones are available in softer durometers with good compressibility. Silicone and fluorosilicone is the base material that is then filled with metal or metal-coated particles. Fluorosilicones are also fuel and solvent resistant.
How do you know you can trust the SSP range?
Our Partners at SSP have been awarded a QPL (Qualified Products Listing) from the US DLA (Defense Logistics Agency). This ensures that the materials offered by SSP through Queensland Gaskets are approved to meet MIL-DTL-83528 for conductive gasketing. To achieve and maintain this specification on the materials approved to MIL-DTL-83528, SSP must conduct batch testing on all materials prior to shipping which is passed on to Queensland Gaskets and the forwarded to our customers with their finished parts.
What types of EMI silicones are available at Queensland Gasket?
Queensland Gasket is the sole distributor of Specialty Silicone Products (SSP) in Australia. To provide EMI RFI shielding and electrical conductivity, SSP fills the base elastomer (natural insulator) with silver-aluminum, silver-copper, nickel-aluminium and nickel-graphite. These fillers differ in terms of cost, conductivity and maximum volume resistivity (VR) – an indirect measure of shielding effectiveness. This is just one of the technologies and gaskets type that sets Queensland Gasket apart from competitors.