A unit of Laird Performance Materials recently added the ability to protect foam absorbers from moisture and heat—making them suitable for use in all outdoor environments.
Broadband and lightweight, foam absorbers offer military and aerospace design engineers a valuable alternative to elastomers when seeking to minimize signal interference from direct reflection. Unprotected absorbers, however, can break down during prolonged exposure to heat, humidity, or water. Further, when left unprotected, foam absorbers can flake and emit dust that damages electronics circuits.
Using spray-on coatings, fabric coatings, or rigid closed-cell foam injections, Laird R&F Products’ custom protective solutions allow design engineers to use foam absorbers in more applications—whether reducing signal interference on an outdoor test range or shielding the outside of a military ship from radar detection. These protective coatings block moisture and prevent flaking, resulting in a long-lasting, reliable foam absorber.
“Foam absorbers offer engineers reliable performance and flexibility in design,” said Rick Johnson, aerospace and defense director at Laird R&F Products. “By protecting these absorbers in outdoor environments with our advanced coating capabilities, we’re opening up new possibilities to military and aerospace design engineers.”
Three types of coatings from Laird R&F Products protect foam absorbers:
- Advanced exterior coatings provide a waterproof barrier that eliminates moisture and absorption of water into the foam.
- Structural foam fillers provide closed-cell protection to the inner foam absorber to create a structural shape or panel.
- CamoRam involves sewing foam absorbers into advanced fabrics to create tents, covers, vests, and jackets that can reduce signal interference and hide military personnel and equipment from radar.
Design engineers can apply each protective solution to Laird’s broadband foam absorbers. Laird R&F can then die-cut or water jet cut coated foam absorbers into custom shapes to fit any application. Further, R&F can sew CamoRam into complex components to cover and enhance the survivability capabilities of the equipment.
“Often, military and aerospace design engineers have to find alternative solutions to foam absorbers that can withstand outdoor conditions,” Johnson said. “But our protection capabilities now allow these engineers to use foam absorbers in new and novel ways to improve the reliability and performance of electronics systems in any environment.”
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