Ask the Experts
July 6, 2008 - Updated
July 6, 2008 - Originally Posted

Corrosion Caused By High Humidity

We are experiencing a corrosion problem with humidity or small droplets of moisture building up on components. What do you recommend for the best corrosion protection out there to reduce this problem?


Expert Panel Responses

A conformal coating will solve this problem for you. There are many different conformal coatings on the market, the most suitable will depend on your application and processing capabilities. If you can supply me with more information on your application and what facilities you have in production then I can offer more assistance. Alternatively, you can visit Electrolube website for more information. Depending on the quantity of boards you produce you may want to look at an acrylic, such as APL in aerosol form, as a starting point.

Jade Bridges
European Technical Support Specialist
Electrolube Ltd
Jade Bridges is the European Technical Support Specialist for Electrolube. She is responsible for technical support within Europe, offering assistance to customers with product selection, implementation and after sales support across the range of Electrolube products. Her expertise is carried over from her position as R&D Manager for Electrolube, where she was responsible for the new product development and technical support across an array of chemical products for the electronics industry, including conformal coatings, encapsulation resins, thermal management products, contact lubrication and electronic cleaning solutions.

It sounds as if your product is subjected to a condensing environment in its end application. In such cases, the best approach would be apply some sort of a conformal coating or potting compound to the board after the assembly process but before it is sent out to the field. These types of products are commonly used to act as a moisture barrier in several varieties of electronics applications.

Brian Smith
General Manager - Electronic Assembly Americas
DEK International
Mr. Smith has been supporting customers in the electronics assembly industry since 1994. His expertise is focused on solder paste printing and reducing soldering defects. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an MBA in Marketing. He has authored several papers in trade magazines and at industry conferences. He is an SMTA Certified Process Engineer.

Corrosion products can come from anywhere and moisture is the element that makes it happen. My first thought without seeing the product would be to conformal coat the product, to reduce the amount of moisture reaching the components. Secondly I would check the cleaning process used after the soldering operation of these boards to make sure they are clean and no flux residues are left behind from that operation. The ability of flux to absorb moisture is high and under the right condition can create all kinds of corrosion and dendritic growth. These are two quick thoughts, hope it helps.

Leo Lambert
Vice President, Technical Director
EPTAC Corporation
At EPTAC Corporation, Mr. Lambert oversees content of course offerings, IPC Certification programs and provides customers with expert consultation in electronics manufacturing, including RoHS/WEEE and lead free issues. Leo is also the IPC General Chairman for the Assembly/Joining Process Committee.
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