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Potting and sealing electronics

Silicones for coating, encapsulating and potting electronic components

Electronic components are delicate systems that need to be protected from environmental factors in order to maximize safety and extend their lifetime. Silicones, with their outstanding mechanical properties and their resistance to temperature and chemicals, are an ideal solution for achieving this, and at Elkem we offer a wide range of silicone products to cater for every potting and sealing workflow and application.

Novel foamed-in-place sealing solutions enable long-lasting protection for power batteries

Elkem Silicones Sealing solution

Novel foamed-in-place sealing solutions enable long-lasting protection for power batteries

Protecting electronics from the external environment

The vast number of electronic technologies that underpin modern society contain many sensitive components – such as sensors, actuators, IGBTs, CPUs and PCBs. These need to be protected against moisture, dust, corrosive fluids, vibration, heat and fire, in order to maximize their lifetime and reduce waste.

To achieve this, assemblies are commonly sealed with a polymeric liquid that subsequently sets to form an electrically insulating layer that acts as an impermeable barrier. There are three main ways of achieving this:

  • Conformal coating involves applying a thin layer (typically 25–250 µm) that closely adheres to the shape of the assembly.
  • Encapsulation involves applying a thicker layer (at least 1 mm, and often much more), to provide an additional level of protection against shock and vibration.
  • Potting takes encapsulation a step further, and involves completely filling the case or ‘shell’ containing the electronic components with the polymer, for maximum protection against environmental factors.

Silicones – The material of choice for potting and sealing electronics

For many years, silicones have been a superior choice for coating, encapsulation and potting in the electronics industry, because of the following properties:

Environmental durability – Silicones are highly moisture-repellent, and have excellent resistance to air, chemicals and UV radiation. This makes them highly durable in challenging applications, extending the lifetime of the component.

Temperature resistance – Silicones have an unsurpassed resistance to high and low temperatures, while also maintaining dimensional stability over this range.

Flexibility – Silicones are highly flexible, which means that the internal strain developed when they set is very low, eliminating the risk of damaging delicate electronic components. The same property also means that they are excellent at damping vibrations.

Fire-retardancy – Silicones are inherently flame-retardant, with the best possible UL 94 flammability rating of ‘HB’. This makes them well-suited for preventing the outbreak of fire should an electrical component fail.

Silicones for potting and sealing from Elkem

Encapsulation and Potting Electronics with Silicone Solutions

Elkem offers a broad range of silicone products that are designed to provide thermal, mechanical and environmental protection of all types of electronics.
Through our BLUESIL™ and CAF™ ranges, we can offer silicones that:

  • Are elastomers, gels or pastes – to suit every use scenario.
  • Operate by one- or two-component room-temperature vulcanization (RTV-1 or RTV-2), to offer a range of options for setting speed, fill volume, and chemical compatibility.
  • Provide very low levels of volatile cyclic siloxanes (so-called D3–D10), eliminating air quality issues during manufacture.
  • Maintain their physical, electrical and thermal insulating properties over the desired range of temperatures and humidities.
  • Can self-adhere to metals, ceramics, glass and plastics, without releasing corrosive by-products.
  • Are available with different degrees of viscosity, ranging from fluid to thixotropic (including a self-leveling grade).
  • Are available in different colors and degrees of transparency.

To identify the best silicone for your application, talk to our team of specialists today.

The Elkem advantage

A powerhouse of innovation in silicones

Since we first started producing silicones in 1944, we have continuously developed new technologies, processes and products to address our customers’ needs. In a changing world, we’re always coming up with new ideas, and helping our customers push the boundaries of their applications.

Tailor-made silicones

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our off-the-shelf product range, we’re ready to help. We can develop tailor-made silicones to meet your specific requirements for viscosity, levels of volatiles, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and much else besides.

Specialist help – wherever you’re based

Our design and process experts are available worldwide, so wherever you’re working, you can benefit from outstanding technical support for silicone potting and encapsulation.

We can also help you to roll-out productivity programs, train your teams, and collaborate on new developments in electronics.

Working with industry

We’ve developed and maintained contacts with the electronics industry for many decades, meaning that we understand the latest technical challenges. We’re also up to date with regulatory requirements, and so can help you to adhere to the latest national and international standards.

Moving to a lower-carbon future

Sustainability is deeply embedded in the way we do things at Elkem – and we can help you meet your environmental goals too.

Engineers’ special tips to protect electronic components

Understand and select the right materials for each electronic application

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