What is a conformal coating?
A conformal coating is a transparent varnish or paint applied to circuit boards to provide a protective film against the environment.
The coating is a thin, protective film that literally conforms to the surface of a circuit board assembly.
Applying a conformal coating may protect a printed circuit board from damage due to contamination, salt spray, moisture, water, heat, chemicals, fungus, dust and corrosion caused by harsh or extreme environments.
What does a conformal coating look like?
Conformal coatings are similar to transparent varnishes and paints.
They can be clear, glossy, translucent, opaque or undetectable. They do not hide the circuit board below.
Generally, most conformal coatings have a UV trace within the material that fluoresces under UV light. This allows the coating to be inspected easily.
How are conformal coatings applied to circuit boards?
Liquid conformal coatings can be applied using spray, dip or brush methods. This can be manually done or be far more sophisticated for high volume applications. Materials like acrylics, polyurethanes, silicones, fluoropolymers and epoxies, are usually applied in a liquid state.
Other specialist types of conformal coatings such as Parylene are applied differently. They are not liquid based. They are applied in a chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process.
Need to find out more?
If further information on these topics and the key question you can go to our free eBook by clicking conformal coating design now.
If you are new to Nexus and our work on conformal coatings then a good place to go is our Start Here page.
Dr Lee Hitchens, Author of Nexus
Dr Lee Hitchens is the author of the Nexus conformal coating website and eBook.
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