Guidelines for Design, Selection and Application of Conformal Coatings
|Publication Date:||1 August 2013|
Conformal coating, for the purpose of this document, is defined as a thin, transparent, polymeric coating that is applied to the surfaces of PCAs to provide protection from the end-use environment. Typical coating thickness ranges from 12.5 μm [0.49 mil] to 200 μm [7.9 mil].
Processing characteristics and curing mechanisms are dependent on the coating chemistries used. The desired performance characteristics of a conformal coating depend on the application and should be considered when selecting coating materials and coating processes. Users are urged to consult the suppliers for detailed technical data.
This guide enables a user to select a conformal coating based on industry experience and pertinent considerations. It is the responsibility of the user to determine the suitability, via appropriate testing, of the selected coating and application method for a particular end use application.
A conformal coating may have several functions depending on the type of application. The most common are:
a. To inhibit current leakage and short circuit due to humidity and contamination from service environment.
b. To inhibit corrosion.
c. To improve fatigue life of solder joints to leadless packages.
d. To inhibit arcing, corona and St. Elmo's Fire.
e. To provide mechanical support for small parts that cannot be secured by mechanical means, to prevent damage due to mechanical shock and vibration.
Purpose The purpose of this handbook is to assist the individuals who either make choices regarding conformal coating or who work in coating operations. This handbook represents the compiled knowledge and experience of the IPC Conformal Coating Handbook Task Group. It is not enough to understand the properties of the various conformal coatings; the user needs to understand what is to be achieved by applying the conformal coating and how to verify that the desired results have been realized.