Researchers have developed an experimental shielding fabric that absorbs virtually all electromagnetic signals, rather than reflecting them.
Radio, television, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile communications and other technologies are based on electromagnetic waves. They effectively perform their tasks, but the pile-up of signals can create interference that degrades the quality of the transmission and disrupts the operation of equipment. To protect against their negative influence, important elements of the devices are covered with special shielding materials, for example, copper foil. However, they usually reflect waves, increasing the overall noise level..
To solve this problem, scientists are looking for more effective ways to combat interference. A team of chemists from Drexel University has developed an aqueous solution of MXene, which, when applied to fabric, turns it into a protective screen.
After wetting the material in solution, a titanium carbonitride coating with a thickness of several atoms forms on it, which adheres well to the fibers due to its electric charge without the need for additional processing. Such a thin layer does not affect the flexibility of the fabric, but gives it shielding properties..
Tests showed that MXene-coated cotton and linen samples could block more than 99.9% of the signals. At the same time, the fabric did not reflect the waves, but absorbed them without creating additional interference. The material also has a fairly good durability. After two years of storage under normal conditions, the efficiency of the samples decreased by 8-13%.
Such fabrics can be used to make protective suits for working in environments with strong electromagnetic fields or to shield components of wearable electronics, the team said..
Recall that earlier scientists also developed a new polymer composite that protects against radiation no worse than lead..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: Drexel University