<< View SCS Blog

Low Outgassing Conformal Coatings Protect Critical Space Electronics

February 29, 2024

Electronics are critical components of satellites, spacecraft and other extraterrestrial exploration equipment that must operate reliably in the extreme conditions of space. Often, traditional protection methods are inadequate as the harsh operating environment in space creates significant challenges for electronic systems, including extreme temperature cycling, electrical shorts and outgassing.

Conformal coatings provide a necessary barrier against the unique challenges of the space environment and are essential for protecting electronic systems, ensuring their functionality and longevity. For example, coatings can act as electrical insulators, preventing electrostatic discharge and short circuits. By combining a low dielectric constant with complete encapsulation of sensitive components, the right coating selection can be effective in dissipating static charges and preventing damage to electronics.

The vacuum of space can also lead to outgassing of materials, potentially compromising electronic circuitry. Conformal coatings like Parylene and Arathane® have been classified by NASA as having low outgassing properties, meaning they emit minimal to no gas when exposed to a vacuum. Additionally, both have been successfully used in space applications for decades.

Parylenes are ultra-thin, lightweight polymer coatings that are applied as a gas in a vacuum chamber. The coatings provide truly conformal, dielectric barriers that effectively shield electronic components from environmental hazards. Additionally, Parylenes exhibit high thermal stability and low outgassing properties, making them a great fit for space applications that must survive harsh environments.

Arathane is a polyurethane-based coating that is commonly used for protecting electronic assemblies. Typically applied by spraying or dipping methods, Arathane offers adhesion to a variety of substrates and provides a robust defense against contaminants and mechanical damage. While the coating may not offer the same level of thermal stability as Parylene, it is a viable option for space electronics protection.

System reliability and longevity are essential to the success of space missions. Conformal coatings like Parylene and Arathane provide a protective barrier against environmental challenges and add to the overall reliability and performance of products in space.

To learn how these conformal coatings can enhance your specific space application, contact SCS online or call +1.317.244.1200.

*Arathane is a registered trademark of Huntsman Advanced Materials Americas LLC.

Global Coverage Issue 97, Fall 2024