Conformal coatings are a thin film of material applied to a completed circuit board that “coats” the board and its assembled parts with a protective substance for additional protection. When first introduced, these coatings were initially used only on circuit boards exposed to extreme environmental conditions due to the expense. The circuit boards included in these categories included industrial uses, marine & automotive applications, and military & aerospace electronics.
However, with the cost of their application dropping, conformal coatings are now used to protect circuit boards that operate in various environments that aren’t always as extreme. One example of products that are now coated is wearable IoT devices. With the dense circuitry of wearable electronics and the challenging conditions they have to operate in, including vibration, moisture, and shock, the conformal coating has become necessary to ensure their uninterrupted performance. This definitive guide will examine PCB conformal coating, what it is, how it’s used, and its potential concerns and benefits to give you the information you need when designing your next electronics project.