Have you ever opened an electronic device or appliance and wonder what the solid jellylike substance performs? The main aim of this substance is to protect electronics. It gears them up with high voltage capacity to resist gaseous phenomena in the form of electrical discharge. This could come from the positive or negative charge of a molecule or atom. It causes it to lose or gain electrons especially when changes in chemicals occur.
Also, it prevents the device from corrosive chemicals and moisture also enabling it to withstand vibration and shock. The process is commonly known as Potting. Using potting products is key to protecting certain delicate electronics from loose wires, water, and vibration.
The Potting Process
The process of potting occurs when an electronic assembly is set into a pot or a mold. Creating a permanent protection for the assembly, an insulating liquid substance is interposed into the pot which eventually becomes hard. The process in which the mold is taken out of the potted assembly is known as cast. Although, the mold can play a huge role in providing certain functions such as dissipation of heat or shielding as part of its finished article.
Alternatively, there have been a lot of houses in the circuit board assembly that prefer to opt for a transparent conformal coating layer to coat assemblies than potting. Conformal coating can be described as thin material or substance that embodies large molecules put together in various repeat subunits which accede to the outline of a printed circuit board to shield and preserve the components of the board. From a phase of vapor, the conformal coat can be smeared in the form of condensed or liquid. The conformal coating offers numerous benefits alongside potting, also proves to be lighter, and provides easy options for repairs, testing, and inspection.
How Potting Components Make Electronics Last Longer
In the electrical and electronics industries, Resins are generally utilized for the purpose of encapsulation and potting, and are simplified into epoxy, silicone, and urethane, depending on their chemical preference.
Epoxy Resins have gained popularity from electronics industries over the years as a result of their outstanding properties. They are not only known for the electrical benefits but also the mechanical aspect as well. The compound is useful for the vast protection it offers against high temperatures and chemicals.
The use of epoxy resins guarantees electrical components maximum protection against hazards such as short circuits, water, moisture, dust, and as epoxy resins possess a more efficient thermal conductivity as opposed to air, the service life of components is prolonged as they deliver an effective heat dissipation.
Polyurethane Resins when cured are rubbery or said to be in an elastomeric state, unlike the hard and obdurate encapsulation the epoxy resins provide when cured. This advantage the polyurethane resins have can come in handy if delicate components are embedded in the circuit which is to be potted.
The polyurethane resins also provide a strong resistance to moisture, dust, and chemical, and also incorporates a good adhesive capacity to both plastic and metal substrates as well as an outstanding electrical insulation. 130°C is the maximum allowed for a cured polyurethane resin.
Silicone Resin on the other hand may not be as popular as the other two resins but provides a wide range of advantages when allowed to form an encapsulating resin. When cured, the silicone resin has a high level of resistance to chemicals, moisture, and dust as well as a great electrical insulating property, and an outstanding degree of flexibility. Although this resin is more expensive, it is highly recommended and required where the continuously operating temperatures are high (above 180°C).
Potting And Sealing Electronics With Silicone
Electronics have become an indispensable part of our daily lives as humans. We find ourselves coming across it in one way or the other ranging from home appliances, electrical grids or ECUs, transportation, gadgets, and smart lighting systems, etc. Some of the components embedded in these technologies listed above include printed circuit board (PCB), central processing unit (CPU), actuators, and sensors, which give protection to the technology and safeguard it against moisture, dust, and other harmful environmental hazards such as fire exposure, heat, and fluids.
As one of the best and leading producers in the world, Elkem has provided advanced material solutions that have helped to sustain and better shape the future. Elkem deals with the fusion of natural raw materials in order to create silicon and silicone products as well as renewable energy.
Over time Elkem has racked up incredible numbers and has earned itself a “Gold” sustainability rating by EvoVadis. In 2020, Elkem’s operating income reached an amazing NOK 24.7 billion earning its place in the Oslo Stock Exchange list.
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