Aluminum EMI Shielding Guide

Aluminum is one of the most popular materials for EMI protection, appearing in many specialized shielding products. Aluminum EMI shielding, with its good conductivity, is particularly well-suited for many applications. In this guide, we’ll cover the types of aluminum shielding materials, the EMI shielding effectiveness of aluminum, and compare aluminum to copper shielding.

Table of Contents

What is Electromagnetic Shielding?

EMI shielding refers to the process of using materials to reduce or block electromagnetic interference. EMI is the disruption of electrical signals caused by electromagnetic radiation from power sources such as power lines and cables, inductive systems such as electric motors, and even natural occurrences like lightning.

Shielding helps maintain signal integrity for electronic components and systems, which is essential for their proper functioning. Any material that can absorb or reflect this radiation may be used for this purpose.

Metals are usually the first choice when it comes to blocking EMI. That’s because they can absorb or reflect the most energy, owing to their higher electrical conductivity.

Aluminum EMI shielding, in particular, offers many benefits due to its many favorable properties. The many advantages of aluminum radiation shielding, including its level of effectiveness, are discussed below.

EMI aluminum shielding foil
EMI aluminum shielding foil

Aluminum EMI Shielding

Aluminum is a versatile material that can be used in many different forms to create EMI shields with varying levels of effectiveness. These range from aluminum EMI shielding foil and mesh screens to expanded sheets and even composite panels.

Aluminum Foil EMI Shielding

Aluminum foil is one of the simplest EMI materials to use. This shielding material is often used as a cladding material or lamination. However, its effectiveness depends on the thickness and size of the foil, as well as the frequency of the EMI.

In situations where EMI shielding effectiveness is paramount, a thicker aluminum foil can be used as an effective solution. This type of shield usually works by reflecting the electromagnetic energy away from the sensitive equipment or components it is protecting.

Applications for EMI shielding aluminum foil include covering shielding housings for sensitive electronic components and systems, covering cables to block interference, and similar situations that require a thin EMI protection material.

Aluminum Mesh EMI Shielding

Aluminum mesh is another popular material for shielding, and it’s also quite affordable. The aluminum strands are woven together to form a conductive grid, blocking out most EMI frequencies while allowing air and other materials to pass through.

Aluminum mesh EMI shielding is great for use in enclosures, where it can effectively shield components from EMI. It’s also common practice to cover cables with braided aluminum mesh for protection against EMI. This type of shielding offers great flexibility and is often used alongside other materials such as tape.

Aluminum Enclosure for Electronics

A common way to protect electronic components from EMI is with an aluminum enclosure. An aluminum enclosure for electronics and other applications creates a Faraday Cage, which blocks out any electromagnetic radiation or interference.

These EMI enclosures can come in many shapes and sizes, based on the application. Depending on the usage conditions, also, the enclosure may be solid metal or perforated to reduce weight and increase airflow.

The aluminum enclosure can be lined with conductive foam, rubber, or other material to seal gaps and enhance its EMI shielding effectiveness. The shield can also be custom-designed to fit specific components or electronic systems.

Aluminum Foam EMI Shielding

This is a foam material (usually open cell) that’s been infused with aluminum particles. The material is lightweight, flexible, and provides excellent EMI shielding capabilities over a range of frequencies. This is an ideal choice for lightweight, portable applications where space constraints are an issue.

Aluminum foam EMI shielding is also considerably durable and resistant to environmental factors, which makes it useful in high-temperature situations. Apart from the shielding capabilities, the foam also helps absorb and dissipate vibration, making it an excellent choice for high-vibration applications.

Aluminum shielding tape for guitar EMI protection
Aluminum shielding tape for guitar EMI protection

EMI Shielding Effectiveness of Aluminum

What is shielding effectiveness to begin with? EMI shielding effectiveness means the ability of a material to block electromagnetic interference. That, in turn, depends on the electrical and magnetic properties of a material, as well as its physical characteristics.

The EMI shielding effectiveness of aluminum is one of the best among available materials. The highest levels are seen when using thicker expanded sheets and composite panels, with values reaching above 90 dB.

Aluminum foil and mesh shields also offer good shielding capabilities, depending on the thickness of the material. For most applications, aluminum shielding effectiveness, when combined with its lightweight nature and other factors, provides an excellent shielding solution for EMI.

Copper Vs. Aluminum Shielding

Both copper and aluminum radiation shielding offer effective protection from electromagnetic interference. However, several key differences in their shielding capabilities make one better suited for certain applications than the other.

  • Copper is more conductive than aluminum and offers higher levels of protection. However, the cost is also much higher for copper shielding when compared to aluminum shielding.
  • In contrast, aluminum is lightweight and easier to work with, making it a great choice for many applications.
  • When it comes to environmental damage, copper is a more resistant material than aluminum in terms of susceptibility to corrosion and oxidation.
  • Aluminum EMI shielding is also quite inexpensive when compared to copper, and more accessible for most budgets.

Overall, both materials offer excellent protection from EMI, but copper offers higher levels of shielding. Aluminum is more lightweight and cost-effective in comparison, however, making it the preferred choice for many applications.


Aluminum EMI shielding, given the high conductivity and lightweight nature of the material, is an excellent choice for many applications. You can also use it in various ways to protect electronic components from EMI, such as with enclosures and foam shielding. All in all, aluminum offers good levels of EMI shielding effectiveness, and is also a cost-effective option for most applications.

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