Exel Composites says that it has secured a patent across Europe for its telecommunications radome design.
According to the company, randome structures cover antenna systems and radar equipment for 5G networks, offering protection from the environment.
While 5G can use much higher frequencies in the signal to allow lower latency and higher speed, high frequencies cannot penetrate materials easy, potentially restricting the reach to connected devices, Exel said. To accommodate this, radomes must be manufactured from a low attenuating material that can be penetrated by higher frequencies. Composite materials such as glass fiber help to mitigate signal attenuation, while providing the necessary mechanical strength.
Exel Composites’ new patent reportedly includes a closed cell thermoplastic foam in its structure.
‘The challenges with making a suitable radome involve striking the balance between the attenuation and mechanical structure of the material,’ said Juha Pesonen, segment leader for telecommunications at the company. ‘Foam has been used in the design for its low density and rigidity, which supports the easy transmission of radio waves. Combined with the mechanical strength of fiberglass skins, we have created a material that is durable, stiff and can provide the protection from the environment that antennae require.
‘Working closely with antennae manufacturers we optimize radome design accordingly based on the functionality and frequency of the antenna,’ he added. ‘Depending on this, we can tailor the combination of the fibers, resin and foam to enhance specific properties. For example, by creating greater mechanical strength or attenuation in required areas.’
Frequencies have increased rapidly in the last decade, with 5G standards reaching 39 gigahertz (GHz). Our manufacturing capabilities and material expertise allow us to prepare for even higher frequencies, like that of 6G in the future. For the time being, our radome patent will benefit our global network of telecommunications customers, helping them to deliver the latest generation of wireless technology.’
According to Kim Sjödahl, senior vice president technology, the patent also features a bespoke window that allows wavelengths to penetrate more easily. ‘Rather than manufacturing the whole radome from the same density of material, we can alter it to meet customer requirements so that there is a specific insert creating a window, necessary for the radiowaves to pass through,’ he said.
This story uses material from Exel, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.