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How do conformal coatings work?

A conformal coating is a protective barrier that shields sensitive electronic components against harsh environmental conditions such as moisture, chemicals and debris. They are not designed to be a total sealant. Conformal coatings are a breathable protective layer that will protect against the particular environment requirement but will also allow any moisture trapped in the circuit board to escape.

The particular advantages of conformal coatings can be summarised as follows:

  • Insulating properties allow a reduction in PCB conductor spacing of over 80%
  • Can help eliminate the need for complex, sophisticated enclosures
  • Light weight
  • Completely protect the assembly against chemical and corrosive attack
  • Eliminate potential performance degradation due to environmental hazards
  • Minimise environmental stress on a PCB assembly

Ideally, conformal coatings should exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Simple application
  • Easy removal, repair and replacement
  • High flexibility
  • Protection against thermal and mechanical shock
  • Protection against environmental hazards including: moisture, chemicals and other corrosive elements
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