RF Shielding

University of Rhode Island test results

In the Fall of 2007, students in a Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design class at the University of Rhode Island were given a problem to solve. They were to successfully build an anechoic chamber that could be used for the testing of passive Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. The four students proposed to create a way to test the performance of the tags by building a working test chamber that fully blocked noise created by outside frequencies. Their search for affordable yet quality products to use in the building of their test chamber led them to TruProtect, which they selected to use for the chamber.

The test chamber was a shielded room designed to attenuate waves. Originally, anechoic chambers were used in the context of acoustic echoes caused by reflections from the internal surfaces of the room, but more recently anechoic chambers have been used to provide a shielded environment for radio frequency and microwaves. In a well-designed acoustic or radio frequency anechoic chamber, the equipment under testing receives acoustic, mechanical or radio frequency signals from the signal source, not reflected from another part of the chamber. This ensures the integrity of the testing being conducted. Furthermore, the shielding of the chamber limits interference from equipment located outside of the chamber.

After erecting a fully operational anechoic chamber the students made a protocol for testing so that companies would be able to mimic the testing methods. This chamber, using TruProtect as the shielding component, was large enough to perform multiple tests, collapsible, moveable, and structurally sound to support the shields, reader, computer, and antenna. The chamber was also affordable. Commercial anechoic chambers generally tend to be extremely expensive, bulky, immobile, hard to build, and are limited on the amount of testing they can perform. The students’ project eliminated all these unwanted characteristics while still being able to function as an RFID tag performance tester.

The University of Rhode Island students working on this capstone project were Dan Dittman, Dan Maruca, Harry Hosemann, Aaron Hebenstreit, and Juan Quinchia. The professors were Carl-Ernst Rousseau, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, and Dr. Bahram Nassersharif, Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics.

Final Report

Assembly Instructions