Green Shield: IIT Mandi Develops Eco-Friendly EMI Shielding Material

Biodegradable composite offers alternative to traditional metals for electronics protection

In a breakthrough for sustainable electronics protection, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT Mandi) have created a biodegradable composite material for electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding. This innovation offers a significant improvement over traditional metal shielding methods, addressing environmental concerns and promoting eco-friendly practices.

EMI, a growing form of pollution caused by the abundance of electronic devices, can disrupt the functionality of critical systems in various sectors, including radar, military controls, and communication networks. Shielding materials are essential to safeguard electronic components from EMI interference.

Led by Dr. Himanshu Pathak and Dr. Sunny Zafar, the research team from IIT Mandi and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland embarked on a mission to develop a composite material that provides robust EMI shielding while adhering to environmentally friendly principles.

Their solution lies in a unique blend of kenaf fiber, a natural fiber known for its strength and low density, and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), a commonly recycled plastic. This combination not only enhances the mechanical properties of the composite but also minimizes its environmental footprint.

To achieve the necessary electrical conductivity for EMI shielding, the researchers incorporated carbon nanotubes (CNTs) into the composite. Their tests revealed that a specific mix of 16% kenaf fiber and 5% CNTs offered superior EMI shielding exceeding 30 dB, alongside exceptional mechanical strength.

“Cultivating a sustainable future demands innovation that enhances performance while minimizing environmental impact,” said Dr. Pathak. “Our work in developing eco-friendly EMI shielding materials combines technological advancement with ecological responsibility.”

Traditionally, EMI shielding relied heavily on metals, which come with limitations like inflexibility, substantial weight, and susceptibility to corrosion. This new composite material addresses these shortcomings with its inherent flexibility, lightweight nature, and ease of processing.

The potential applications for this innovative composite are extensive, ranging from electronic equipment casings to overhead bins in airplanes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

“The developed composite holds immense promise for real-world applications,” remarked Dr. Zafar. “Its versatility and sustainability make it a valuable asset in addressing contemporary challenges while promoting environmental responsibility.”

The research findings have been published in the esteemed journal, Polymer Composites, accessible at