Cable Shield Characteristics

Cable Shields perform many functions – some electrical, some mechanical, take a look at the possibilities you could order up



Shielding Materials

Calmont works with many different shielding materials and we’re constantly evaluating new materials to offer to our customers. Some of the common shielding materials we use are:

  • Aluminum/Mylar
  • Aracon® – see below
  • Bare Copper
  • Glass
  • High/Low Permeability EMI
  • Kevlar®
  • Semi-Conductive
  • Silver Plated Copper
  • High Strength Copper Alloys
  • Tinned Copper


Shields perform many functions – some electrical, some mechanical. For example, in electrical and electronic circuits they may level out surge impedance along the length of the cable, screen a signal from external excitation, or confine a signal to an intended electrical path; in coaxial cables they may act as “return” wires; in telephone cables they may protect against shorts due to ground surges, provide a barrier against termites and rodents, or filter out low frequency interference from nearby power lines.

Shield Effectiveness – Stray magnetic and electrostatic fields can critically affect signal transmission in electrical and electronic circuits by inducing voltages that alter transmitted signals. Shield effectiveness is a measure of the success of a shield in reducing induced voltages and signal radiation. In selecting a particular shield construction, the design engineer must identify the potential fields in which the circuit will operate and specify a construction that reduces radiation and interference to specified limits. The optimum shielding system is usually the minimum cost construction that performs this function and meets applicable environmental and mechanical operating requirements. Quantitative effectiveness specifications that account for shield reflection and absorption characteristics in decibels are seldom used but can be specified when the exact nature of potential interference and shield materials specifications are known.

Shield Types – There are many shield varieties -round wire shields (braided, spiral, reverse spiral), tape shields (all metal, metal laminated with an insulating material), metal tubes, and conductive textiles and plastics. Each of these has a preferred use in some specific application.


The Aerospace and military industries have many applications that require weight conscious designs, that in most cases may include the cable. A major contributor to a cable’s weight is the braid or shield material. An alternative to copper braid is metal-clad fibres. Aracon ® is one such material which provides exceptional EMI shielding, strength, and flexibility. Typically switching from copper to Aracon ® fibre can reduce the weight by 60% in the braid. Aracon ® is combined with DuPont Kevlar ® to provide high tensile strength and excellent conductivity. Calmont has vast experience working with Aracon ® for space and military applications. The large number of fine threads and the tendency of yarn to flatten and spread give this material more shielding coverage than copper.


Strength – The density of metal coated fibres are half that of copper, at the same time, the tensile strength of the aramid core (350 Ksi) is from three to ten times higher than that of traditional or high-strength copper (35-95 Ksi).

  • Reduced weight
  • High strength
  • Improved flexibility
  • Withstands repetitive flexing and vibration
  • Excellent coverage
  • Easily terminated
Shield Method Shield Effectiveness (Low Frequency) Shield Effectiveness (High Frequency) Percent Coverage Flexlife EMI/RFI EMP
Copper Braid Excellent Excellent 60-95% Fair Fair
Aluminum Mylar Excellent Excellent 100% Poor Poor
Spiral Copper Good Fair 80-98% Good Poor
Semiconductive Fair Poor 100% Good Poor
Steel Braid Excellent Excellent 60-95% Fair Exlnt