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Conformal Coating Types

Comparing Coating Solutions

Parylene (Type XY)
Parylene is a transparent polymer conformal coating that is deposited from a gas phase in a vacuum. These polymers are polycrystalline and linear in nature, possess superior barrier properties, have extreme chemical inertness, and because of the deposition process can be applied uniformly to virtually any surface and shape including: glass, metal, paper, resin, plastics, ceramics, ferrite and silicon.

Acrylic Resin (Type AR)
Acrylic conformal coatings are easily applied. They dry to the touch at room temperature in minutes, have desirable electrical and physical properties, and are fungus resistant. They have long pot life and low or no exotherm during cure, which prevents damage to heat sensitive components. They do not shrink. The main disadvantage is solvent sensitivity, but this also makes them easier to repair.

Epoxy (Type ER)
Epoxy systems are usually available as “two-component” compounds. These rugged conformal coatings provide good humidity resistance and high abrasion and chemical resistance. They are, however, virtually impossible to remove chemically for rework, because any stripper that will attack the coating also dissolves epoxy-coated or epoxy-potted components and the epoxy-glass printed circuit board itself. The only effective way to repair a board or replace a component is to burn through the epoxy coating with a knife or soldering iron.

Polyurethane (Type UR)
Polyurethane conformal coatings are available as single component, two component, UV curable, and water borne systems. As a group, all provide excellent humidity and chemical resistance plus outstanding dielectric properties for extended periods.

Silicone (Type SR)
Silicone conformal coatings are particularly useful for high temperature service, up to about 200 deg. C. They provide high humidity and corrosion resistance along with good thermal endurance, making them desirable for PWA’s that contain high heat dissipating components such as power resistors. Silicone coatings are susceptible to abrasion (low cohesive strength) and have high coefficients of thermal expansion.

Conformal Coating Comparision

Effect Acrylic Urethane Epoxy Silicone
Effect of weak acids None Slight dissolve None Little or none
Effect of weak alkalis None Slight dissolve None Little or none
Effect of organic solvents Attacked by ketones aromatics and chlorinated solvents Resists most Resistant Attacked by some
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