This work focuses on the use of metal foams, a relatively new class of materials, for high added-value electromagnetic (EM) shields. First, the Shielding Effectiveness (SE) of aluminum foam slabs is experimentally evaluated, showing very good shielding properties. Successively, accurate numerical models of metal foams are proposed and used in a proprietary Variable-Mesh Parallel Finite Difference Time Domain code, in order to characterize the EM properties of slabs of such materials. Afterwards, a third approach is adopted. It consists in the application of the effective medium theories in order to obtain an analytical EM model of the metal foams; this way, their SE can be evaluated with a negligible computational time by using common mathematical tools. Finally, a methodology to design/analyze customized metal foams for EM shield applications is suggested. It takes advantage from the joint use of the numerical and analytical presented approaches, thus allowing a computationally efficient evaluation of SE and other electromagnetic properties of metal foams. Results demonstrate the suitability of metal foam structures for effective EM shielding in many industrial applications, as well as the accuracy of the proposed analytical and numerical approaches.
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