cutting white copper wires
May 5, 2021

Information About Foil Tape And Tinned Copper Shielding

Copper is a high-performing metal well-suited for tasks from safeguarding electrical connections to sealing seams that experience high temperatures and humidity. This material is available in two forms — foil tape and shielding — to deliver excellent function and longevity. Compare foil tape and tinned copper shielding to determine the best acrylic adhesive-backed solution for your application.

What Is Foil Tape?

Foil tape is a single, thin layer of copper with a conductive acrylic adhesive backing. These materials are available in aluminum and copper. Foil tapes are suitable for purposes that require reliable point-to-point contact like EMI/RFI shielding, static charge draining and grounding. These foil tapes have many uses in electronic design, prototyping for test laboratories and design and troubleshooting purposes. Copper foil tapes, in particular, are cost-effective materials that shield against EMI/RFI interferences.

These materials’ shielding capacities vary with size. Copper foil tapes are available in typical industry-standard metric cut sizes, for example, 24mm for every 1 inch of nominal tape width ordered. Note that rolls are 5% narrower than the nominal size. In this case, the product’s actual size is 25.4mm wide.

More foil tape and tinned copper shielding specifications, including the thickness, approximate AWG, ampacity and other details, differ depending on the type.

What Is Tinned Copper Shielding?

Tinned copper shielding features a tin coating and is available in mesh and flat braid. The latter comprises copper wires that receive a tin coating and are rolled flat and braided at the time of manufacture. It is highly flexible, making it a great protective braid for hoses and tubings. This material also eliminates ignition interference and can be used for any application that needs a woven tinned copper braid. It has a minimum shield coverage of 95% and meets specifications QQ-W-343 type S and ASTM B-33.

Tinned copper shield’s woven, tinned copper construction provides a minimum of 95% shield coverage. It has a nominal thickness of .020 inches, making it highly flexible.

Applications for Shielding and Tapes

Copper is commonly used for shielding purposes, usually as a foil tape or tinned copper shielding. Both foil tape and tinned copper shielding are used to protect cables, eliminate EMI/RFI interference, serve thermal and electrical purposes and meet other needs.

Foil Tape Use Cases

Copper foil tape is very easy to apply and, therefore, time-saving. Copper foil tapes are conductive all throughout, including the adhesive, which makes it ideal for cable shielding, shielding electrical connections between surfaces of sheets and foils, die-cuts, temporary shielding during tests and as an antistatic.

The conductive adhesive of copper foil tapes is ideal for the modifications of printed circuit boards, repairs of security alarm circuits and layout and design of wiring board prototypes. It is suitable for wrapping cables to shield EMI/RFI and to provide electrical continuity by seaming EMI/RFI-shielded rooms. It is also used for draining static charge and surface contact with materials such as plastic or aluminum, which is non-solderable. This annealed foil tape’s copper-bright color does not tarnish, and its lasting visual appeal makes the adhesive excellent for arts and decorative projects such as jewelry making.

Other common applications include:

  • Sealing packages of various items
  • Covering seams beneath paint for durability and strength against harsh conditions
  • Waterproofing surfaces
  • Bonding heating, ventilation and air conditioning ductwork components

Tinned Copper Shielding Use Cases

Where foil tape provides the ideal adhesive and protection for placement in smaller areas, tinned copper shielding sees more frequent use for large-scale applications requiring more extensive coverage from a flexible material offering comparable conductivity. These characteristics make braided tinned copper cable particularly suitable for:

  • Wiring appliances
  • Blocking interference in cables
  • Grounding batteries
  • Acting as a bonding strap for vehicles, aircraft and marine equipment

Benefits of Tinned Copper Shielding and Foil Tape

Due to its thin, flat shape and adhesive coating, applying foil tape is easy, allowing you to achieve precise results quickly.

Tinned copper or copper coated with an acrylic adhesive retains bare copper’s electrical and thermal conductivity as bare copper. However, a tin coating safeguards the foil tape’s materials from oxidation and corrosion, making it more suitable for use in humid, damp or marine environments. This shielding offers enhanced performance and longevity for applications requiring significant physical protection from interference.

Despite their differences in application, foil tape and tinned copper shielding retain many of the same advantages, including:

  • Versatility: Multiple sizes and configurations make copper foil tape and tinned copper shielding excellent options for various projects, maximizing the materials’ use due to an extensive range of applications spanning industries.
  • Solderability: Clean, unoxidized copper is highly solderable, making it easy to create seamless bonds.
  • Flexibility: Foil tape and braided shielding feature unique constructions that retain copper’s flexibility, enabling them to wrap over and around surfaces and components.

Why Work With WesBell Electronics?

Working with a trusted wire and cable supplier ensures you receive the best materials for stringent or specific design specifications. At WesBell Electronics, our experts meet standard and custom needs by carrying high-quality materials such as tinned copper wire and performing various value-added services, including wire twisting and cord preparation. Whether you require off-the-shelf wires and cables and made-to-spec solutions, we have the capabilities to deliver application-ready materials.

We’ve established our reputation for maintaining excellent relationships and delivering valuable bulk materials and services since 1988. After decades in business, we’ve expanded our product catalog and service options to ensure your company sees benefits like:

  • Efficient, one-stop-shop capabilities that reduce lead times
  • Responsive and convenient customer service
  • Reliable and precise production methods abiding by tight tolerances
  • Free shipping on orders over $500

Purchase Tinned Copper Wire From WesBell Electronics

Place your order for highly conductive tinned copper wiring. If you require a custom solution, contact our team to discuss your applications and design.

Purchase tinned copper wire from WesBell Electronics

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