Silicone Potting

Frequently Asked Questions about the evolving role of Silicone Potting

Understanding the critical role of silicone potting in today’s industry is vital when it comes to choosing the right material for your application, and the right supplier for the job. Silicone potting and encapsulating resins are deeply involved in a wide variety of today’s top industries, and the demand for them is only growing. In this article, we cover a few important questions often asked about silicone potting, and it’s many uses.

Is silicone potting better than conformal coating?

It all depends on the intended use of your component. A component’s housing and the intended environment’s conditions all play a significant role in the decision whether to use a thin coating or a potting resin. The protection provided by a thin coating offers some advantages – if the component’s housing provides enough protection of its own against the environment.

In addition, if volume or weight is your number one priority, then a coating is considered adequate protection while giving a minimal increase in weight or volume to your finished component.

However, if you are looking for the highest level of protection, silicone potting is far superior to conformal coating. Here is why:  Silicones are often used to protect high voltage electronics, shielding them from their volatile end-environments. Silicones and resins provide a thicker barrier against harsh chemicals, high humidity, and even physical shocks.

Silicone resins also have an extensive operating temperature range, so they are a natural choice for high and low-temperature end-points. Silicones maintain their flexibility over a wide range of temperatures, all with minimal degradation, placing very low stress on delicate electronic components.

Are silicone resins more expensive, and why?

Silicone potting prices can sometimes be slightly higher than those of other resins, but for a very good reason. Silicon for potting is generally considered to be the best and safest choice to protect your components from high or low operating temperatures. Also, due to silicone’s high flexibility, this resin is very suitable for environments with a high level of potential thermal shock, or a high frequency of thermal cycling.

Another critical point to consider is that the heat emanated during the curing of silicone resins is very low, making them perfect for temperature-sensitive components. Silicones have excellent adhesion ability and adhere to a wide range of materials, including most metals and plastics used in today’s industry.

What is the two-part system, and what are its advantages?

A good silicone potting supplier will be able to offer you a range of silicone potting and other resins such as epoxy and polyurethane, for encapsulating and other applications. The majority of these resins come in a handy two-part system, where the adhesive needs to be mixed with a hardening material just before use.

Two-part silicone systems should be offered to you in a range of sizes to suit your needs, including kits, bulk, and packs. The kits are especially interesting because they have the silicone and its hardener already pre-weighed and in the right ratio, saving you the need to measure them before use.

The significant advantage of the two-part packs is that small quantities are available for purchase. Each package consists of a divided plastic bag, containing the perfect ratio of both resin and hardener. When removing the seal, the resin and its hardener can be mixed directly in the bag, without introducing any air.

The mixed package can now be used directly for potting. This solution is cost-effective, time-saving, and very convenient.

How does silicone potting protect intellectual property?

This topic is often overlooked, but protecting your rights for your work is an essential point to consider. If you need to protect your components and circuits from being copied by others, then a conformal thin coating will not protect your intellectual property. When your rights are considered, resins provide you with more than just sturdy, resilient protection.

Did you know that pigmented, opaque resins can obscure your circuit details and protect your hard-won intellectual property?

Take the time to consider this when choosing your next encapsulating or potting material and make sure to ask your supplier about it.

How does the future look like for silicone potting?

The demand for silicone potting and encapsulating has grown significantly in the last few years and is said to increase even more in the near future. This rapid growth is closely related to the flourishing electronic industry.

Industries widely use silicone potting compounds to shield electronic devices and their sensitive components from harsh environments and extreme temperatures. This process is pretty much a standard nowadays in industries such as computing, electronics, aerospace, automotive, and communications, and is expected to support the growing market for the foreseeable future.

Not surprisingly, the demand for silicone potting compounds is anticipated to increase even further in the coming years, primarily due to the associated benefits like cost-effectiveness, minimal shrinkage, stability, and high efficiency.

The significance of a good silicone potting supplier

Silicone (and other resins like epoxy) has been the material of choice since the early days of encapsulation and potting of delicate components. The electronics market is rapidly evolving, adding the use of LED technology and progressing towards smaller and more powerful devices. Your components and materials need the robust protection of quality silicone potting, and the rule of thumb when looking for the right supplier is to find a company that has listened to the market and evolved as well.

A manufacturer that has proven himself over the years and meets the changing needs of the industry. A good supplier will guide you in terms of the resins they manufacture and offer, and always continue to develop new resins and materials to meet your specific requirements. Effective, performant, and personalized silicone potting solutions will come from a supplier that understands you and understands the market, always striving to meet the demands of today and tomorrow.