Protective coating for electronic device components

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Electronic devices have undergone a revolution in size, performance and portability. From consumer devices like smartphones, tablets and wearables to specialised industrial technology such as automation controls, electronics are everywhere — including in many challenging environments. Without adequate electronic protection, components inside devices can suffer corrosion when exposed to contaminants. This degrades electronic performance and may lead to electrical shorts and device failure. At the same time, smaller, more complex, dense printed circuit boards (PCBs) with high-performance components, LEDs and a variety of miniaturised components are placing higher demands on electronic protection coatings.

3M™ Novec™ Electronic Grade Coatings offer protection against corrosion for the sensitive internal components of devices and are ultra-thin compared with traditional conformal coatings. Our products are the result of decades of experience improving electronic grade coatings to help guard against moisture, water/salt water immersion, sulphur, oils, humidity and pollution. They offer ease of application, reworkability and the ability to apply without masking or curing.

Extreme closeup of green printed circuit board (PCB) coated with Novec Electronic Grade Coating with droplets of water beading up on surface showing moisture repellency.
Performance meets peace of mind.

Easy, effective, flexible corrosion protection for device components

When you choose Novec coatings, you gain all the advantages of 3M’s innovative materials, deep knowledge base and dedicated support. Here’s a look at some of the key benefits of these high-performance coatings:

  • Side-by-side comparison of a uncoated PCB circuitry that's been harmed by exposure to salt fog (spray) and unharmed PCB that's been protected with Novec Coating.

    Electronic corrosion protection

    Novec electronic grade coatings have been proven effective against corrosion through extensive testing, as seen in these images showing untreated and treated circuitry that has been exposed to salt fog. They provide a uniform oleophobic and hydrophobic layer that helps cover surfaces of a component for exceptional repellency of moisture, oils, dirt, grime, fingerprints and other environmental contaminants. Novec coatings help provide excellent protection against corrosive agents that devices might encounter, including:
     

     

    • Moisture
    • Water
    • Salt fog or mist
    • Sulphur
  • Female lab technician examining a large green printed circuit board, holding it up to the light.

    Exceptional thinness

    Ultra-thin Novec coatings can be alternatives to traditional conformal coatings and a smart choice for your business. In a dip application, thicknesses can range from 0.1 to 1.3 microns, or 1 to 6 microns. In a typical single-pass spray, thicknesses range from 1 to 6 microns; layers can be built up to create appropriate thicknesses. This compares to up to 25 microns or more for typical conformal coatings. Thinness has several advantages, including:
     

    • Electrical contact can be made through the coating, eliminating the need for masking
    • Excellent coverage of complex geometries
    • Thermal management properties — the thinner coating doesn’t trap as much heat
  • Close-up of a side profile of a raspberry pi circuit board being sprayed coated with Novec coating.

    Process advantages

    3M Novec Electronic Grade Coatings can save costs and increase efficiency without compromising performance.
     

     

    • Compatible with existing spray, dip, or syringe application processes and equipment
    • Simple spray application means less need for specialised labour and equipment
    • Easy application that is dry to the touch in seconds, and most don't require curing
    • May eliminate masking, saving time and steps
    • Reworkable to help improve production yields
    • Build up the protection needed with multiple layers
    • Some products feature UV-detectable dye to simplify inspection
  • Sun peaking through tall skinny redwood trees in forest with blue sky and green grass

    Safety and sustainability

    Performance without compromise means choosing products that don’t put workers or the environment at risk. Novec electronic grade coatings are formulated with 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluids, which offer: 
     

     

    • Non-flammable, low toxicity and wide margin of safety for workers
    • Non-conductivity
    • Low environmental impact, with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and low global warming potential (GWP), compared with conventional coatings formulated with hydrocarbon solvents
    • Strong regulatory compliance — not scheduled for restriction or phasedown

Choosing the right Novec Electronic Grade Coating

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  • Raspberry Pi circuit board with 3M Novec Electronic Grade Coatings, being held with a purple gloved hand and being sprayed with water to show repellency.

    3M Novec Electronic Grade Coatings for device component protection are the result of decades of development and evolution by 3M experts. Their careful and precise development can be seen in their exceptional properties, which also make these products versatile for novel applications such as an oil barrier or filter.
     

    • Low viscosity
    • Low surface tension
    • RoHS compliant with high resistance to chemicals
    • Transparent

    Download the device component coating product selection guide (PDF, 113 KB)

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Device component coatings tools and resources

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Contact us for more information about coating electronic devices

3M Novec is more than a brand of products — we’re people who share your passion for solving problems and improving lives. Not sure which coating is right for your application? We are here to help! Contact us to answer any questions you may have or to get:
 

 

  • Product data and test samples
  • Application advice and best practices
  • Additional case studies and other materials
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