Silicone Coating Guide for Electronics
Mallory McGuinness | June 30, 2020
Conformal coatings can enhance product reliability and resilience despite threats found in the environment. There are five types of conformal coatings, including silicone, polyurethane, epoxy, acrylic, and Parylene. Each coating type has pros and cons, and ultimately, the conformal coating you choose will depend on your protection needs, cost considerations, manufacturing requirements, and other variables. In this blog, we will discuss silicone conformal coating services to help you make a more informed decision as you evaluate protective materials.
What is Silicone Coating and How Does it Work?
Silicone conformal coatings are a protective layer that conforms to the topography of PCBAs and other electronic components. The polymeric material forms a film over the unit being coated, which serves as a barrier to liquids, humidity, pollutants, harmful gases, and other contaminants.
These coatings are widely recognized for good performance under extreme temperatures – silicone coatings remain stable during temperature cycling, and throughout a wide temperature range.
In general, silicone coatings have the following attributes:
- Good humidity and moisture resistance
- Low toxicity
- Easy to apply
- Easy to repair
- Temperature range: -65°C to 200°C.
What are the benefits of Silicone Conformal Coatings?
Excellent performance in extreme temperatures, flexibility, and durable dielectric insulation are some of the benefits of silicone conformal coatings. The coatings are also suitable for vibration dampening and serve as a barrier to a variety of contaminants, sustaining physical and electrical properties through a wide range of conditions. Additionally, silicones are resistant to ultraviolet and ozone degradation, exhibiting good chemical stability.
Because silicone conformal coatings perform so well in extreme heat, typical applications include automotive, aerospace, and industrial settings. The coatings are often used to protect mission-critical devices found in harsh use environments, such as industrial networking products.
What Does Silicone Protect Against?
Silicone conformal coating services can be used to protect electronics from humidity, vibration, and an array of contaminants, including salt spray, selected solvents, and vapors. Additionally, they can be used as a shock and vibration absorber to relieve stress that may be placed upon components.
The Silicone Conformal Coating Process
There are three traditional methods used in the silicone conformal coating process: dipping, spraying, or simple flow coating. If you are planning on high volume production, spraying or dipping are your optimal choices. If not, a simple flow coating can be used.
Why Choose Silicone Coating to Protect Your Electronic Devices?
If you are looking for a durable coating that can perform well in mission-critical applications and extreme temperatures, you may want to speak to a silicone conformal coating company to discuss protection options. However, there are some drawbacks associated with using this type of protection, including issues such as potential contamination of other organic materials and products. Moisture may permeate through the coatings, and silicone conformal coatings exhibit poor mechanical strength.
Parylene coatings are also commonly used in mission-critical applications and in situations where temperatures may fluctuate, and unlike silicone, do not require curing to reach their fullest potential. If you are considering using a conformal coating to extend your product’s lifetime and enhance reliability, speak to one of our engineers about the capabilities of Parylene.
Parylene conformal coatings are also commonly used in mission-critical applications and in situations where temperatures may fluctuate, and unlike silicone, do not require curing to reach their fullest potential.
Ryan is a 9-year veteran to the world of protecting electronics from harsh environments and a lover of all things technology.