Electronic assemblies that will be exposed to harsh environments including:
are often potted or coated to provide additional protection, prevent short circuits or other device failures. In short, potting creates a more reliable, ruggedized piece. Potting is typically completed in one of two ways.
The assembly or part is put inside of a mold or pot. The liquid material that will insulate and protect the finished piece is poured in the mold where it hardens. Both the pot and the hardened compound become part of the final product. Potting provides a high level of protection but makes it difficult to repair or rework a piece.
These non-conductive coatings are used commonly for circuit board assemblies or similar items with surface mount technology. A coating that conforms to the shape of the item is applied to the piece instead of the piece being placed in a molded and completely encased. Conformal coating, since it is not a complete encasement of a part and is usually transparent, is easier inspect and repair and weighs less than traditional potting.
Potting and conformal coatings can be done with a range of materials including
The potting or coating material for any project should be selected based on the piece's application and requirements such as: