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Hydrophobic Coatings: Select the Ideal Dispensing Method and Equipment

There are many examples of hydrophobic surfaces in nature – lotus leaves, shark skin, and butterfly wings are just a few.  These surfaces feature unique self-cleaning abilities and super hydrophobicity. As with many technological advancements, scientists have taken a cue from nature to develop hydrophobic and superhydrophobic coatings that protect everyday surfaces and electronics. These coatings actively “repel” water – preventing corrosion, electrical shorts and more.

How? When a drop of liquid contacts a surface, it creates a "contact angle" — the angle formed between the edge of the drop and the surface it rests on. The higher the contact angle, the more likely a liquid is to “bunch up” and roll off a surface. A surface contact angle greater than 90 degrees is hydrophobic and a contact angle greater than 150 degrees is superhydrophobic – not easily wetted. Conversely, a hydrophilic surface is easily wetted.

You don’t need to look far to find usage examples.  Fabrics, glass, and ship hulls are protected by hydrophobic coatings to prevent wetting and biofouling. Space heating, refrigeration, air conditioning and electrical power are key industries that rely on hydrophobic coatings to protect equipment from corrosion. Technological advancements and affordability continue to promote their adoption.

Electronics Manufacturing: The Scope of Applications Continues to Widen

Mobile phones, wearables, IoT devices, tablets, cars and medical devices all contain electronic circuits and metal interconnections that are highly susceptible to damage when exposed to moisture. The low wettability of hydrophobic surfaces decreases the potential interaction between water and sensitive components – delivering the next evolution in electronics water-proofing.

If you’re considering hydrophobic coatings for your electronics application, follow these steps:

1. Select the coating material. Work with your fluid supplier to identify the optimal hydrophobic coating material for your application.

2. Select the equipment. Depending on the application, it might be necessary to dispense coatings selectively or over larger areas.  For the best result, the equipment capabilities should align with the coating material properties and the selectivity requirements for your application. Nordson ASYMTEK offers a variety of equipment solutions, including the following jetting and atomized spray coating options:

Additional options are available for needle dispensing and film coating methods.

Our experienced team is here to help. For more information and assistance, contact us at
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