By Andres Hanau, Eric Hanson and Edward Hughes of Aculon – 30/10/2018
Andres Hanau, Eric Hanson and Edward Hughes of Aculon describe R&D in the chemistry of conformal coatings, leading to the development of an encapsulant technology capable of forming a hydro/oleophobic coating for consumer electronics.
According to research firm IDC, nearly 900,000 smartphones are damaged by liquids every day, with an estimated impact of $96.7 billion a year. The demand for smartphone waterproofing is driving an industry standard which will likely create competition based on levels of protection. This challenges manufacturers to find economical and high-performance materials for IPX7 and IPX8 ratings:
- IPX7: full water immersion for 30 minutes while powered ‘on’ at one-metre depth
- IPX8: immersion in over one metre of water.
Manufacturers turned to conformal coatings, normally used to protect circuitry from contaminants like dust, but while conformal solution-based and vacuum-deposited coatings protect circuitry from contamination and humidity, neither is capable of waterproofing electronics produced in mass manufacturing environments. It would take 10 or more successive applications to get protection from liquid – a process not feasible for high-volume manufacturing.
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