All About Conformal Coating for Electronics

Posted by Jake Hinojoza on Sep 10, 2019 9:00:00 AM
Jake Hinojoza

When we use electronics throughout the day, we rarely consider how they operate. Thinking about the inner workings of electronics can be mind-boggling as they are so small yet produce so much. From everything like a handheld electronic to security systems, there are electronic circuits making things run. These circuits must be protected. Read on to learn about why and how.

Why Printed Circuit Boards Need Protection

A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used in the majority of electronics. PCBs are used to connect electronic components within the devices. Those components are typically soldered onto the PCB and the PCB offers mechanical support and connection. A PCB is a fundamental part of all the main electronics.

Protection of the PCB is paramount as environmental threats such as rain, dust, and temperature fluctuations can cause serious damage. A protective coating must mitigate damage from environmental threats, as well as avoid dialectical breakdown. Additionally, protective coatings need to not interfere with the functionality of the device itself. This means that getting just the right protection is a delicate balance of full protection and full functionality. 

So, what's the solution? Parylene conformal coating is the preferred choice. Conformal coating is a secure and nonconductive covering applied to PCBs to prevent exposure to deterrents in the functionality of the components.

Telecommunications Applications

Parylene is found just about everywhere, but it is becoming more and more common in the telecommunication industry--specifically, mobile phones. Since mobile phones have delicate, intricate, and complicated PCAs, it is necessary to have a coating that can adapt to their unique shapes, protect them from mechanical stress and extreme environments, and do it all without interrupting their functions.

A PCA that faces environmental hazards, like humidity, salt spray, or even chemicals, is neither reliable nor long-lived--which means that a good coating is necessary to keep the PCA and the mobile phone functioning properly. Coatings are also necessary to keep the telecommunications industry's transmission equipment safe in all kinds of weather, which means that this field relies heavily on coatings.

How Conformal Coating Works

Conformal coating is a thin layer of chemical coating that conforms to a PCB to protect it from moisture and contaminants. There are four types of liquid coating: acrylic, epoxy, silicone, urethane and one vapor-phase, parylene. You will have different reasons for using each type depending on the product you want to coat. When it comes to PCBs, parylene is the recommended conformal coating for a number of reasons. Let's look at that next.

Why Parylene?

Parylene is a form of a conformal coating that can be applied to virtually any surface or shape. The advantages of parylene are the uniform and pin-hole free final products. It is the most beneficial choice for conformal coating because it is a stable chemical compound and makes a solid barrier. This also means, in particular, that it is the best choice for electronic conformal coating. Additionally, it is a time-conscious choice as it is ready to go once applied, no curing time needed.

Here's a breakdown of the key benefits of parylene for PCAs. 

  • Weight. Since PCAs are becoming smaller and sleeker, it is parylene's responsibility to keep up--and this is one conformal coating that never gets in the way. Parylene is lightweight, so it doesn't interrupt the delicate PCA or its placement or function.
  • Conformity. Parylene is one of the best conformal coatings when it comes to conforming to unusual or difficult surfaces, and that's good news for the telecommunications industry. Since PCAs are rarely smooth and simple, parylene is the best choice.
  • Protection. Reliability is key, and parylene offers just that. Both flexible and strong, this conformal coating provides flawless protection against the elements, chemicals, moisture, and more.

When using conformal coating, you should concentrate on what best meets the requirements for your object. To get more information about conformal coating and parylene, call us today.

Topics: Conformal Coating Types, Conformal Coating Electronics