Silicone encapsulates are protective materials that are designed to embed, and therefore protect, electronic circuitry and semiconductor elements. Heat, moisture, and other contaminants like chloride ions, can damage the circuit and interconnections, as can magnetic interference. Underfill materials provide the essential job of protecting chips from stresses such as shock, heat, dropping, or vibrations. Underfill and silicone encapsulates are essential for providing the highest quality product to the market.
Encapsulates, underfill materials and other kinds of barrier coatings are categorized into three varieties and the difference depends on the chemical curing mechanism used. The three types of encapsulates are: ridged barrier coatings, flexible coating material, and gels. All use as their base an electronic grade silicone encapsulate resin.
Three Types of Silicone Encapsulates
What’s the difference between these three types of silicone encapsulates and underfill made of high purity electronic grade silicone? Rigid coats cure and harden into very hard, rigid polyimides. Because rigid barrier coats also have excellent adhesive properties, they are perfect for coating resistant devices that happen to have very high voltage associated with them.
Flexible encapsulates or underfill materials have elastic, rubber like properties. This means that they can absorb stress placed on circuitry from external forces, because their unique curing properties make them able to absorb stress.
Gel encapsulating material remains soft after the curing process. This means that it is able to provide the most buffer effect of any of the three types of electronic packaging, as well as providing the most protection from moisture. The seal on gel encapsulates and underfills is excellent, as is its adhesion strength.
Barrier coats are a thin, transparent barrier between two layers that are photoresistant, and their purpose is to minimize interaction between the two layers. They are polymer films, thin and transparent. Natural polymeric materials have been used as protective layers for centuries, but synthetic silicone polymers, the base for silicone encapsulates, are a state of the art substance, made to provide protection for a long time.
Staying Ahead of the Industry
The electronics industry is so fast paced, it is difficult to keep up with the many underfill, barrier coat, and encapsulate techniques that evolve so quickly, particularly with the pressures to bring electronics to market in an ever shortening time frame. It is more essential than ever to know and trust your materials manufacturer.