The Importance of Soft Magnetic Alloys for Shielding Applications

Soft magnetic alloys have long played an important part in a wide range of industries, including everything from aerospace to lighting to telecommunications and more. Soft magnetic alloy sheets, plates, bars, and coils have all been used to advance applications and equipment. However, operation of even the best-engineered circuits can be seriously impaired by magnetic interference from nearby components or (in very low-level applications) from the earth’s magnetic field. Stray magnetic fields can present a major problem and shielding is often necessary. The factors of field strength and frequency can help to determine what kind of alloy to use.

The primary application of soft magnetic alloys was originally in the telephone industry. They were also used for electric motors. Since that time, soft magnetic alloys are now more widely used and shielding for electronic components is prevalent. For example, soft magnetic alloys are being used in biomedical equipment. These alloys can provide shielding that is used to isolate rooms where MRI tests are being conducted. Computer monitors, which are in virtually every hospital and doctor’s office in the country, may need protection from magnetic fields that can be produced in buildings. Another common application would be in our cell phones. We carry these small computers in our pockets daily.

Electromagnetic interference ( EMI ) shielding is the practice of reducing the electromagnetic field in a space by blocking the field with barriers made of magnetic materials. Shielding is typically applied to enclosures to isolate electrical devices from the “outside world,” and to cables to isolate wires from the environment. The high permeability and absorption characteristics of soft magnetic alloys make for a good filter for EMI pollution. EMI shielding can reduce the coupling of electromagnetic fields. The amount of reduction depends very much upon the material used, its thickness, the size of the shielded volume and the frequency of the fields of interest and the size, shape and orientation of apertures in a shield to an incident electromagnetic field. Typical applications for EMI shielding would be cathode ray tubes, discrete component shields, cable shielding, bio-medical diagnostic equipment, area shields such as MRI diagnostics, laboratory equipment, Squib rooms, and so on and so forth.

When alloys are used in biomedical settings, they can help to prevent EMI pollution. Ed Fagan supplies the highest quality soft magnetic alloys for a wide range of high-tech industries, and can provide any industry with custom answers for all their alloy needs. Are you in need of specialty metals and alloys? Contact us today!

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