Conformal Coatings Protect PCBs from a Variety of Potential Threats

Most digital devices feature printed circuit boards (PCB) that allow electronic components like chips, capacitors, and resistors to be easily assembled into circuits. A PCB within any given device must be properly protected if the overall functionality of the whole is to be preserved.

In many cases, applying a conformal coating to a PCB will make it far more rugged and resilient. There are quite a few common reasons to use conformal coatings when producing digital devices meant for consumers as well as commercial or industrial users.

Conformal Coatings Protect Many PCBs Well

Just what kinds of protection a given PCB most needs will normally depend on where and how it will be utilized. A PCB that will be installed in a carefully controlled, secured environment could easily merit less protection than others.

In most cases, though, at least a couple of kinds of potential threats will need to be recognized and accounted for. Some of the dangers that an appropriate conformal coating can help guard against when applied to a PCB are:

  • Dust. A stray speck of dust that lands on a critical trace of a PCB can cause serious problems. Some circuits are so sensitive to variations in resistance and inductance that no such interference can be tolerated. By imposing a layer of protection between a PCB and the surrounding air, a conformal coating can do away with concerns about dust.
  • Moisture. Typically transient threats like dust and dirt can still be formidable. In many cases, though, moisture makes for an even more pointed form of danger. A circuit that becomes the least bit wet can easily sustain permanent damage. An unbroken layer of conformal coating will make moisture less of an issue.
  • Heat. Excessive heat can damage a PCB by warping it or even loosening up surface-mounted components. Conformal coatings with insulating properties protect PCBs from being damaged by high temperatures.

The Best Solution to Many Common PCB Problems

Conformal coatings are frequently used to protect important PCBs from dangers like these and others. Choosing a conformal coating that is especially well suited to a given application will generally make for even more impressive results.

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