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70 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I FEBRUARY 2020 Encapsulation Resins: What Could Go Wrong? In last month's column, we looked at the pitfalls of potential contaminants and best mixing practices for two-part encapsulation resins. This month, I'll address some of the pain points with mixing resin packs and air bubbles, including what can go wrong and why. I will also examine some of the key differences between conformal coatings, encapsulation resins, and potting compounds to help designers make decisions that are more informed, ultimately increasing the reliability and lifetime of your electronic cir- cuitry. Extending lifetime and improving the perfor- mance of devices is essential to a brand's rep- utation; no one appreciates a product recall, or worse, a product failure. Encapsulation res- ins are an excellent way of protecting electron- ic circuitry; however, there are some excellent conformal coating alternatives on the market too. I will elaborate further to help dispel any confusion. For instance, we have created the 2K coat- ings range, which behaves like a resin with the application ease of a coating. This has been a great success in applications, such as automo- tive, where protection in harsh environments is critical. I will explore coatings vs. resins, as well as resins vs. potting compounds, using my usual five-point Q&A format. Let's take a closer look at five critical factors affecting en- capsulation resins. 1. What are the consequences of having air bubbles trapped in encapsulation resins, and does this impair performance? Air bubbles can have a number of effects on the performance of the cured resin. Depend- ing on the number and distribution of the bub- bles, the thickness of the polymer layer applied will be decreased. The level of protection will also be reduced, particularly against chemical attack. Sensible Design by Alistair Little, ELECTROLUBE

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