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Thin Film Coating Blog

Browse our blog to learn more about thin film and conformal coating processes, material, and application. Find out more about HZO and how our solutions can help your market.

Polymer Glass Transition Temperature - Material Properties, Impact

Polymer glass transition temperature (Tg) refers to the temperature at which an amorphous polymer transitions from a glassy, rigid state to a rubbery, flexible state...

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Diagram of thermal conductivity

What is Thermal Conductivity? Explanation, Measurement, Uses

Thermal conductivity is a fundamental concept in heat transfer and is crucial in multiple industries and scientific disciplines. It refers to the ability of a material to conduct..

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Index of refraction illustrated through glass

What is the Index of Refraction? Measurement, Definition & More

Understanding how light travels through different mediums is essential in optics. One invaluable optical property is the index of refraction. This measurement quantifies how much..

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testing for tensile strength at yield

Tensile Strength at Yield - Testing, Standards, Specs, Material

The ability to accurately predict the behavior of coating materials under tension is crucial in ensuring the integrity and reliability of electronic components. This includes..

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Elongation at Break - Definition, Testing, Material Selection

Elongation at break is a key mechanical property that measures the deformation capacity of a material before it eventually snaps or breaks, providing insights into the material's..

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Diagram of Young's Modulus

Young's Modulus of Polymers - Measurement, Calculation

Young's Modulus is an important property, allowing engineers to select coating materials based on their desired stiffness. Understanding and manipulating the elastic Modulus of..

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Water Vapor Transmission Rate - Standards, Testing, Material

In the world of electronics, moisture control is of utmost importance. High water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) can pose significant risks to sensitive electronic devices. When..

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transparent polymer coating on a piece of glass

Transparent Polymers - Applications, Material Selection

Transparent polymers offer optical clarity and the ability to transmit light. With various applications across various industries, these polymers have gained popularity for their..

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Biocompatible Coatings - Coating Techniques, Applications, More

Biocompatible coatings seamlessly integrate with the human body, offering benefits through their ability to promote healing and prevent adverse reactions. They can improve patient..

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Dissipation Factor - Definition, Measurement, Variables

Dielectric materials are crucial in various industries and applications, serving as insulators, substrates, or capacitors. One important characteristic often evaluated in..

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Volume Resistivity - Definition, Measurement, Product Design

Whether designing circuit boards or protecting electrical components, knowledge of the volume resistivity of coating materials plays a pivotal role in creating efficient and..

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UL94 Coating Material - Testing Method, Material Selection

Fire safety compliance is an indispensable aspect across various industries. One crucial benchmark in fire safety compliance is UL94, a widely recognized standard for flammability..

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Yield Elongation of a material

Elongation Yield: Overview, Unit of Measure, Data and Testing

Elongation yield refers to the maximum amount of deformation a material can undergo before it experiences a permanent change in shape or size. This property is fundamental in..

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Difference Between Water Resistant, Repellent, & Proof

We all see references to waterproof, water-resistant, and water-repellant devices being thrown around on electronic products. The big question is: What’s the difference? There are..

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What Does Waterproof Actually Mean? Seriously.

Download HZO's Ingress Protection Checklist Your shiny new smartwatch claims to be IP57 waterproof, your new phone claims to be water protected, and a slew of new electronic..

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Traditional Waterproofing vs. Conformal Coating Waterproofing

Traditional Waterproofing vs. Conformal Coating Waterproofing These days, we take our electronic devices everywhere and expect them to be waterproof. People want to take photos at..

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Dielectric Constant of Insulator Materials: Formula, Table of Values

Depending on their formulated ingredients and molecular structures, thin film coatings may be electrically conductive, insulative, or semiconductive. Insulative coatings serve..

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What is the Dielectric Strength Formula? Testing, Table of Values

Although thin film coatings serve many purposes, providing dielectric isolation and electrical insulation is one of the essential functions. Dielectric strength is an important..

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Arc Resistance - Concepts and Testing Explained

Insulating materials such as Teflon, plastic, rubber, ceramic, or glass ensure products function properly and safely. However, no insulator is perfect. These materials still..

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Parylene Chemical Resistance Properties - Overview

Choosing a conformal coating can be a complex decision that entails understanding the environment your electronic products will be operating in and taking stock of the threats to..

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NEMA vs IP Ratings Explained

Once upon a time, computers only sat perched on desktops, but that is no longer the case. Deployed in harsh industrial, medical, automotive, and consumer household environments,..

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The Evolution of Waterproofing - Medieval Waterproofing

The Evolution of Waterproofing What do a pirate ship and a Samsung S21 smartphone have in common? No, this is not the beginning of some strange joke. The truth is that all of..

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What is Corrosion & Does It Ruin Electronics? How to Remove It?

Imagine the following scenario: You are washing the dishes, listening to music on your smartphone when suddenly the unthinkable happens – the phone that was nestled safely in your..

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Conformal Coating Thermal Conductivity - Prevent Overheating

Design engineers have more to worry about these days than ever before. The demand for smaller electronic devices with more capabilities is exponentially growing, causing..

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Example of Parylene optical properties

Parylene Optical Properties - UV Light Interactions, Refractive Index

With Parylene, you always have a clear and accurate view due to its optical properties. Although the Parylene deposition process begins with white to off-white dimer powder, the..

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Solving Weather & Water Challenges For Smart Farms

It’s a Small World, After All The world’s population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, an unprecedented increase approaching fast. This looming surge will compound our..

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Designing a Waterproof Product With IP Ratings

The Big Picture: Manufacturers determine IP ratings, not an impartial group. Although these rating systems are useful for comparison purposes, they are not the panacea for rating..

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Don't Be Left in the Dark: Brief History of Light Emission Devices

One of the best things about working for a company like HZO is the opportunity to be exposed to an extremely wide variety of technologies (apart from our own). Our seasoned..

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Military Standards for Safeguarding Printed Circuit Assemblies

For certain service providers interested in working with aerospace companies or the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), it is necessary to achieve certain military standards, also..

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Hydrophilic vs Hydrophobic: What's The Difference?

Hydrophilic vs. Hydrophobic Today’s technical terminology can be dizzying. On an average day here at HZO you hear people throw around words like nanotechnology and vapor..

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Polymer Glass Transition Temperature - Material Properties, Impact

September 21, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Polymer glass transition temperature (Tg) refers to the temperature at which an amorphous polymer transitions from a glassy, rigid state to a rubbery, flexible state. Understanding the polymer glass transition temperature is crucial for various industries, including engineering and manufacturing. The Tg provides valuable insights into a polymer's behavior, such as its processing, mechanical, thermal, and overall performance characteristics.

The polymer's structure, molecular weight, chemical composition, and branching influence the glass transition temperature. The Tg affects properties like stiffness, impact resistance, thermal stability, and transparency. Design engineers can optimize material selection, processing conditions, and performance requirements by understanding how the Tg relates to polymer structure.

Basics of Glass Transition

The glass transition is a phenomenon that occurs in amorphous polymers where the material changes from a rigid and brittle state to a softer and more flexible state when certain temperature conditions are met.

Several factors can affect the glass transition temperature (Tg) of polymers:

  • Molecular weight and chain length: Polymers with higher molecular weights and longer chain lengths tend to have higher Tg values.
  • Chemical structure and composition: Different chemical structures and compositions can result in variations in Tg values.
  • Presence of plasticizers or additives: Plasticizers and additives can lower the Tg of polymers, making them more flexible and less brittle.
  • Crystallinity or amorphous nature of the polymer: Amorphous polymers generally have lower Tg values than crystalline polymers.

Influence of Glass Transition Temperature on Polymer Properties

A polymer's glass transition temperature (Tg) plays a crucial role in determining its properties and performance. This temperature marks the transition from the glassy state to the rubbery state, where the polymer undergoes significant changes in its physical and mechanical behavior.

Impact on mechanical properties

The glass transition temperature has a profound effect on various mechanical properties of polymers, such as:

  • Tensile strength: The Tg of a polymer can influence its tensile strength. Polymers with a higher Tg tend to have higher tensile strength, as the increased molecular mobility at elevated temperatures allows for better alignment and bonding.
  • Elastic modulus: The Tg also affects the elastic modulus, which refers to a material's ability to resist deformation. Polymers with a higher Tg typically exhibit a higher elastic modulus, indicating greater stiffness and rigidity.
  • Impact resistance: The Tg can impact the impact resistance of polymers. As the Tg increases, the polymer becomes more brittle and prone to fracture upon impact. On the other hand, polymers with lower Tg values exhibit better impact resistance and toughness.

Effect on thermal behavior

The glass transition temperature has significant implications for the thermal behavior of polymers:

  • Melting temperature and thermal conductivity: The Tg influences the melting temperature of a polymer. Polymers with higher Tg values generally have higher melting temperatures. Additionally, a higher Tg can result in lower thermal conductivity, which affects the material's ability to transfer heat.
  • Heat resistance and aging: The Tg indicates a polymer's heat resistance. Polymers with high Tg values exhibit better heat resistance and are less prone to degradation at elevated temperatures. Furthermore, understanding the Tg is crucial for predicting the long-term aging behavior of a polymer in various environmental conditions.

Temperature-Dependent Polymer Properties

Temperature plays a crucial role in determining the properties of polymers. As the temperature changes, various characteristics of polymers undergo significant transformations. Understanding the temperature-dependent behavior of polymers is essential for a wide range of applications, from material selection to manufacturing processes.

Changes in Polymer Properties with Temperature Variations

When exposed to different temperatures, polymers exhibit distinct alterations in their properties. These variations include changes in mechanical strength, electrical conductivity, chemical resistance, and dimensional stability. For example, as the temperature rises, the mechanical strength of a polymer tends to decrease due to increased molecular motion.

Relationship Between Glass Transition Temperature and Other Temperature-Dependent Properties

Glass transition temperature has a relationship with other temperature-dependent properties, including:

  • Specific heat capacity: The glass transition temperature of a polymer is closely related to its specific heat capacity, which is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a unit mass of the material by a certain degree. Understanding this relationship is essential for predicting polymers' heat absorption and release capabilities at different temperatures.
  • Coefficient of thermal expansion: The coefficient of thermal expansion measures the extent to which a material expands or contracts when subjected to temperature changes. The glass transition temperature considerably influences the coefficient of thermal expansion of polymers. Higher glass transition temperatures generally result in lower coefficients, indicating reduced dimensional change with temperature.
  • Viscosity and flow behavior: As the temperature varies, polymers experience viscosity and flow behavior changes. Polymers act as rigid solids with high viscosity at temperatures below the glass transition temperature. However, as the temperature surpasses the glass transition temperature, polymers transition into a more flexible state, exhibiting lower viscosity and increased flow characteristics.

Measurement and Determination of Values

Obtaining accurate glass transition temperature data is essential. Several experimental techniques may be employed for measurement, including:

  • Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC): DSC is a widely used technique that measures the heat transfer in a sample as it goes through a glass transition. It provides information about the glass transition temperature and the enthalpy of transition.
  • Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA): DMA measures the mechanical properties of a sample as a function of temperature or frequency. It can provide information about the glass transition temperature by observing changes in the sample's modulus, damping, and storage modulus.
  • Thermomechanical Analysis (TMA): TMA measures the dimensional changes of a sample as a function of temperature or time. It can determine the glass transition temperature by monitoring changes in the sample's dimensions.
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR): FTIR measures a sample's absorption of infrared light. Analyzing the changes in the infrared spectra of the sample as a function of temperature can determine the glass transition temperature.

Factors influencing the accuracy and repeatability of glass transition temperature measurements

Several factors influence the accuracy and repeatability of glass transition temperature measurements, such as:

  • Heating and cooling rates: The rate at which the sample is heated or cooled can affect the observed glass transition temperature. Different heating and cooling rates can lead to variations in the measured value.
  • Sample preparation and handling: How the sample is prepared and handled before the measurement can also impact the glass transition temperature. Contamination or improper handling can introduce errors.
  • Physical state of the polymer (solid, liquid, or semi-solid): The physical state of the polymer can affect the glass transition temperature measurement. Different states can exhibit different glass transition temperatures.
  • Presence of impurities or additives: Impurities or additives present in the polymer can influence the observed glass transition temperature. These substances can alter the polymer's molecular structure and affect its behavior during the glass transition.

Role in material applications

The glass transition temperature influences the choice of polymers in various industries and applications, including:

  • Automotive and aerospace: The Tg of polymers used in automotive and aerospace applications is critical, as it determines their ability to withstand high-temperature environments and maintain dimensional stability.
  • Consumer goods and electronics: The Tg influences the selection of polymers for consumer goods and electronic devices. Polymers with suitable Tg values are chosen to ensure durability, impact resistance, and resistance to heat and aging.
  • Medical and healthcare sector: The Tg of polymers used in medical and healthcare applications is essential for ensuring biocompatibility, sterilizability, and resistance to various environmental factors.

This diverse range of applications highlights the glass transition temperature's crucial role in tailoring polymer properties to meet specific requirements. Contact our engineers if you need to choose a protective coating material with a particular glass transition temperature and require assistance or learn more about thin film protection capabilities, such as coefficient of linear expansion, thermal conductivity, or optical properties, such as refractive index or transparency.

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What is Thermal Conductivity? Explanation, Measurement, Uses

September 21, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Thermal conductivity is a fundamental concept in heat transfer and is crucial in multiple industries and scientific disciplines. It refers to the ability of a material to conduct heat or the rate at which heat transfers through a substance. Understanding this property is essential for designing efficient thermal systems, optimizing energy usage, and ensuring the safety and performance of various materials and products.

Learn about other thermal coating properties like glass transition temperature and linear coefficient of expansion.  

Fundamentals of Heat

Understanding heat and its relationship to thermal conductivity is essential in grasping the concepts of heat transfer. Heat, in its simplest form, transfers energy from one object to another due to temperature differences.

Temperature gradient plays a significant role. A temperature gradient refers to the difference in temperature between two points in a material or between two adjacent materials. Heat transfer occurs when there is a temperature gradient, with heat flowing from regions of higher temperature to regions of lower temperature.

This phenomenon is driven by the basic principle of nature - the tendency of a system to seek equilibrium. When there is a temperature difference, the system will naturally attempt to balance the temperatures, leading to heat transfer and thermal conductivity.

The Physics Behind Thermal Conductivity

Thermal conductivity is a fascinating concept deeply rooted in the fundamental principles of physics. At its core, thermal conductivity is defined as the ability of a material to conduct heat. This ability is determined by various physical factors that govern the flow of heat energy.

The mechanisms of heat conduction can explain this property at the molecular level. Heat conduction occurs when a temperature is different between two points in a material. In simple terms, it is the movement of heat energy from higher-temperature to lower-temperature regions.

One of the fundamental relayed principles is the concept of thermal resistivity. This refers to a material's resistance to the flow of heat. Materials with lower thermal resistivity have higher thermal conductivity, allowing heat to be transferred more easily.

Another essential principle is the role of atomic and molecular interactions. Heat energy is transferred through these interactions as atoms or molecules collide and exchange kinetic energy. A material's structure and arrangement of atoms or molecules can greatly impact its values.

Measurement Techniques

Measurement techniques are crucial in providing accurate data to understand thermal conductivity. Various experimental methods have been developed to measure thermal conductivity, each with advantages and limitations.

Overview of Experimental Methods

Experimental methods for measuring involve subjecting the material to controlled thermal conditions and observing the resulting heat transfer. These methods can be broadly classified into steady-state and transient techniques.

  • Steady-State Heat Flow: This method involves establishing a steady-state heat flux through the material and measuring the temperature gradient. Knowing the sample's dimensions and the temperature difference, the value can be calculated using Fourier's Law of heat conduction.
  • Transient Hot Wire Method: A thin wire with a known value is placed in contact with the material in this technique. A constant heat flux is applied to the wire, and the temperature rise is measured. By analyzing the rate of temperature change, thermal conductivity can be determined.
  • Laser Flash Analysis: Laser flash analysis is commonly used to measure thermal conductivity in solids. This method applies a short pulse of laser light to one end of the sample, creating an instantaneous temperature rise. The temperature decay is then measured and analyzed to calculate the value.

Non-Destructive Testing Techniques

Non-destructive testing techniques are commonly employed when measurements must be taken on finished products or structures without altering their integrity. These methods offer convenience and allow for thermal conductivity measurements in real-world applications.

Some non-destructive testing techniques commonly used for measuring thermal conductivity include infrared thermography, ultrasound, and thermal wave analysis. These techniques utilize the principles of heat transfer and allow for non-intrusive measurement of thermal conductivity in various materials.

Applications of Thermal Conductivity

The concept of thermal conductivity is essential in designing and optimizing thermal insulation materials to reduce heat loss or gain. It is also pivotal in developing efficient heat exchangers, such as those used in HVAC systems, refrigeration units, and power plants.

Additionally, it is a key factor in determining the performance and efficiency of electronic devices, such as computer processors and power electronics. Optimizing this value helps dissipate heat generated by these devices, preventing overheating and ensuring longevity.

Here are some examples of the wide-ranging applications of thermal conductivity:

  • Designing heat sinks for electronic devices: This property helps dissipate heat generated by components, ensuring optimal performance and preventing overheating.
  • Energy recovery systems: Energy recovery systems aim to capture and utilize waste heat generated by industrial processes. By efficiently transferring heat, it enables the conversion of waste heat into usable energy, reducing energy consumption and costs.
  • Enhancing thermal management in engineering applications: The property helps design and optimize cooling systems, ensuring efficient heat dissipation and preventing equipment failure due to overheating.

Due to the importance of this material property, selecting a protective coating material with the most suitable value is paramount. Please get in touch with us if you are a design engineer and have questions about protective coatings for electronic components. Otherwise, learn more about protective coating protection properties, such as optical properties like refractive index and transparency.

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What is the Index of Refraction? Measurement, Definition & More

September 20, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Understanding how light travels through different mediums is essential in optics. One invaluable optical property is the index of refraction. This measurement quantifies how much a ray of light bends when it passes from one medium to another. The index of refraction plays a crucial role in understanding the behavior of light in various optical devices and phenomena.

Read more about transparent polymers.

Definition of the Index of Refraction

The index of refraction is a numerical value that represents the ratio between the speed of light in a vacuum and the speed of light in a given material. It determines how much the direction of light changes as it passes through a medium, such as air, water, or glass.

The higher the value, the slower light travels through the material, resulting in a greater bending or refraction of the light ray. This is due to the interaction between the electromagnetic waves of light and the charged particles within the medium.

Measurement Methods 

Several methods exist to accurately measure the index of refraction. Here are some widely used techniques:

  • Using refractometers: Refractometers are optical devices that determine the index of refraction by measuring the angle at which a light ray bends when passing through a sample material.
  • Employing mathematical models based on the speed of light: This involves calculations using mathematical equations that incorporate the speed of light in a vacuum and the speed of light in a particular medium. These models consider variables such as wavelength and frequency to derive the index value accurately.
  • Snell's Law: Snell's Law is a fundamental principle that relates the angles of incidence and refraction between two mediums. By measuring these angles and applying Snell's Law, the index of refraction can be determined.
  • Speed of Light: Another way to measure the index of refraction is by comparing the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light in a particular medium. This method requires precise measurements of the speed of light and the refractive properties of the medium.
  • Critical Angle: When light travels from a medium with a higher refractive index to a medium with a lower refractive index, it can reach a critical angle at which total internal reflection occurs. By measuring this critical angle, the index of refraction can be determined.
  • Dispersion: Dispersion refers to the phenomenon where different wavelengths of light (colors) refract at different angles when passing through a medium. By studying the dispersion of light, scientists can derive the index of refraction for each wavelength, creating a refractive index spectrum.

These measurement techniques allow engineers to understand better how light interacts with matter.

Refractive Index and the Speed of Light

Light, as we know, travels at an incredible speed through space. However, when it enters a medium, such as glass or water, its speed is significantly reduced due to the phenomenon of the index of refraction. Understanding the relationship between the index of refraction and the speed of light is crucial in various scientific and practical applications.

Why light travels slower in mediums with higher refractive indices:

When light passes through a medium, it interacts with the atoms and molecules in that medium. These particles cause the light to slow down as it continuously gets absorbed and re-emitted. The higher the refractive index of the medium, the more significant this effect becomes, resulting in slower light propagation.

Effects of different materials on the speed of light propagation:

Materials with higher refractive indices, such as diamond or glass, slow down light considerably. In contrast, materials with lower refractive indices, such as air or vacuum, allow light to travel at its maximum speed. This variance in speed is why light bends or changes direction when passing from one medium to another.

Index of Refraction and Product Design

The index of refraction has numerous practical applications in various fields. One application is the design of optical fibers, lenses, microscopes, telescopes, and other devices. By manipulating the path of light through different materials with different refractive indices, engineers can achieve desired outcomes such as focusing, magnification, and dispersion.

Additionally, understanding the behavior of light as it interacts with different materials allows engineers to develop and improve optical instruments. These instruments, ranging from cameras to spectrometers, rely on the principles of the index of refraction to function effectively.

If you are working on an application that requires a protective coating with certain optical properties, HZO might be able to help. Please contact us to speak to an engineer. Or, if you are more interested in learning about protective coating capabilities, read about thermal conductivity, linear coefficient of expansion, or glass transition temperature.

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Tensile Strength at Yield - Testing, Standards, Specs, Material

September 19, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties, Thin Film Applications


The ability to accurately predict the behavior of coating materials under tension is crucial in ensuring the integrity and reliability of electronic components. This includes studying different materials' deformation and failure mechanisms when subjected to a tensile load. One key parameter that is used to quantify the ability of a material to withstand such loads is its tensile strength at yield.

What is Tensile Strength at Yield?

Tensile Strength at Yield indicates a material's ability to withstand loads and forces during its lifetime, making it crucial for designing structures and components that can endure various stresses. It is a vital measurement in numerous disciplines, such as engineering, manufacturing, aerospace, and automotive.

When a material is subjected to a tensile load, it experiences stress and undergoes deformation. The stress-strain curve, representing the relationship between the applied stress and resulting strain, provides valuable insights into the material's behavior. This curve can determine the ultimate tensile strength, the maximum stress the material can withstand before failure occurs.

The yield point is a critical parameter in studying tensile strength at yield. It refers to the point on the stress-strain curve where a significant increase in strain occurs with minimal or no increase in stress. The tensile strength at yield is the stress level at this point and represents the maximum stress a material can withstand without undergoing permanent deformation.

During the deformation process, materials can exhibit different types of behavior. Elastic deformation occurs when a material returns to its original shape upon removal of the load, while plastic deformation occurs when the material undergoes permanent changes in shape. Understanding the concepts of elastic and plastic deformation is essential in analyzing a material's behavior under tension.

Testing Methods, Equipment, and Standards Used for Measurement 

Due to the importance of this mechanical material property, obtaining accurate Tensile Strength at Yield data is critical. Accurately measuring it requires appropriate testing methods, equipment, and adherence to specific standards. The most commonly used technique is the tensile test, where a sample material is subjected to an increasing axial load until it reaches its yield point. Sophisticated equipment, such as universal testing machines, performs these tests and obtains reliable measurements. Standard organizations, such as ASTM International, provide guidelines and standards for conducting these tests, ensuring consistency and comparability of results.

Standards and Specifications 

Standards and specifications are crucial in ensuring the accuracy, reliability, and consistency of measurements. National and international organizations have established various standards to regulate this critical characteristic of materials.

Similarly, numerous national and international standards have been developed to guide the measurement and characterization of tensile strength at yield. These standards outline the specific testing methods, equipment, and conditions to ensure accurate and comparable results across different laboratories and industries.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) are among the leading organizations that have established widely recognized standards for tensile strength at yield. Compliance with these standards is essential in ensuring test data's uniformity, reliability, and compatibility.

What Influences Tensile Strength at Yield?

Material composition plays a crucial role in determining values. Different elements and their proportions can significantly affect the mechanical properties of a material, including its yield strength. For example, increasing the amount of carbon in certain materials can enhance tensile strength at yield.

The microstructure of a material also plays a vital role in determining this value. Factors such as grain size, phase distribution, and dislocation density can impact the material's ability to withstand deformation before yielding.

Coating Material Selection and Design Factors

Because this mechanical property is crucial in determining various structures and products' overall reliability and safety, it should be closely considered during material selection. Every industry and application has unique requirements for choosing a coating material. Engineers must account for environmental conditions, load-bearing capacity, and durability requirements. They can select appropriate materials to meet the desired performance and safety standards by evaluating the tensile strength at yield requirements specific to each industry. A summary of requirements for particular applications is below.

Evaluating Tensile Strength at Yield requirements for different industries

  • Aerospace: In the aerospace industry, where extreme conditions and rigorous performance requirements exist, coating materials with exceptional tensile strength at yield are crucial. This property ensures aircraft components' structural integrity and safety, such as wings and fuselage, under immense stress during flight.
  • Automotive: This property is vital in automotive engineering as it affects vehicle structural stability. Manufacturers and designers prioritize coating materials with optimal values to enhance passenger safety and overall vehicle performance.
  • Consumer products: From household appliances to sports equipment, consumer products are designed to withstand daily usage and potential impacts. Tensile strength at yield is vital in ensuring that these products can withstand the forces they are subjected to without deforming or failing.

Importance in Coating Material Selection

Tensile strength at yield is a critical mechanical property used in coating material selection. It provides valuable information about the protective coating material's ability to withstand applied forces without permanent deformation. If a protective coating were to break, it could allow corrosives and contaminants to destroy electronic components, causing failure.

Design engineers rely on this property to evaluate and compare different coating materials, ensuring their suitability for specific applications. If you are designing an electronic component and need help determining which coating material is best for your product, please contact our engineers, or read additional information on thin film coating properties.

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Elongation at Break - Definition, Testing, Material Selection

September 19, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties, Thin Film Applications


Elongation at break is a key mechanical property that measures the deformation capacity of a material before it eventually snaps or breaks, providing insights into the material's behavior and performance. This crucial measurement is closely related to tensile strength, which determines a material's ability to withstand pulling forces without breaking.

The longer the elongation at break, the greater the material's flexibility and ductility. It represents how much a material can stretch or elongate under tension before reaching its breaking point.

In metals, elongation at break showcases malleability and ensures they can withstand deformation without fracturing easily. Plastics with higher elongation at break are more capable of enduring stress and strain without undergoing permanent damage. Understanding the importance of elongation at break helps select the right materials for diverse applications, ensuring optimal performance and durability.

Testing Methods for Elongation at Break

Elongation at break is a key indicator of a material's ability to stretch before reaching its breaking point, so accurate data is vital for material selection. To precisely determine this value, various testing methods are employed.

When conducting tests, manufacturing and quality control considerations play an essential role. These considerations include:

  • Ensuring that sampling is representative of the material being tested.
  • Using appropriate and calibrated testing equipment to obtain accurate measurements.
  • Following standardized testing procedures to maintain consistency.

By considering these factors, manufacturers can ensure the reliability and integrity of their testing results, which are critical for maintaining consistent material properties. Two methods of testing are described below.

Tensile Testing

Tensile testing involves subjecting a material sample to tension until it fractures. The sample is held between two clamps and pulled in opposite directions until it breaks. The amount of elongation before fracture is recorded and used to calculate the final value.

Elongation Testing

Elongation testing is another method utilized for measurement. Unlike tensile testing, this method focuses solely on measuring the elongation of a material sample without causing it to fracture. The sample is stretched until a specified strain value is achieved, and the resulting elongation is measured.

How to Calculate Elongation at Break

The elongation of the material sample at the point of fracture is measured by comparing the original length of the sample to its final length after fracturing. The percentage of elongation is then calculated by dividing the change in length by the original length and multiplying by 100.

Mechanical Properties and Plastic Deformation

Elongation at break is just one of the mechanical properties used to assess a material's performance. It is closely related to other properties like yield strength, resilience, and plastic deformation. Manufacturers often evaluate it alongside these properties to comprehensively understand a material's behavior.

For example, this property is a valuable measure of a material's ability to undergo plastic deformation. Plastic deformation refers to the permanent change in the shape of a material when subjected to stress. Materials with high elongation at break have greater plasticity and can undergo significant deformation without fracture.

Understanding the relationship between elongation at break and plastic deformation is crucial in various industrial applications. It allows engineers and manufacturers to select materials that can withstand the required stress and deformation without failure.

Consideration of Elongation at Break in Material Selection

Elongation at break is also widely used for material comparisons and benchmarking. By evaluating and selecting appropriate materials based on their desired levels of ductility and flexibility, industries can ensure that their products perform optimally under different operating conditions.

Materials with higher values are generally preferred in applications where the material needs to undergo extensive deformation without failure. On the other hand, materials with lower values may be desired for applications where high rigidity and resistance to deformation are required.

By considering elongation at break, engineers can make informed decisions regarding material selection and performance optimization, enhancing product reliability and customer satisfaction. If you are designing an electronic product that needs protective coatings and are having trouble identifying which material to choose, please contact our Applications Engineers for answers. Or if you are interested in learning more about thin film protective coating capabilities, such as such as elongation yield or Young's modulus of polymers, browse our site.

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Young's Modulus of Polymers - Measurement, Calculation

September 19, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties, Thin Film Applications


Young's Modulus is an important property, allowing engineers to select coating materials based on their desired stiffness. Understanding and manipulating the elastic Modulus of polymers is crucial for applications where strength, flexibility, or a combination of both is required.

What is Young's Modulus of Polymers?

Young's Modulus, also known as the elastic Modulus, is a fundamental property that characterizes the mechanical behavior of a material. It quantifies the relationship between stress (force per unit area) and strain (deformation) when a material is subjected to an external force or load.

For polymers, Young's Modulus determines how much the material will stretch or compress in response to applied stress. It measures the rigidity of the polymer chain structure. When comparing Young's Modulus between polymers and other materials such as metals and ceramics, polymers typically have lower values. This is because polymers have a more flexible molecular structure, allowing them to undergo more significant elastic deformation under applied stress, in contrast to metals and ceramics with more rigid atomic structures.

Factors Influencing Young's Modulus 

Understanding the factors influencing Young's Modulus allows engineers to choose polymer materials with desired mechanical properties for specific applications. The following factors influence Young's Modulus of Polymers:

  • Molecular structure and chain flexibility: The arrangement and size of polymer chains determine their flexibility and, consequently, their Young's Modulus. Polymers with longer and more linear chains tend to have higher Young's Modulus values.
  • Degree of cross-linking and polymerization: Cross-linking refers to forming chemical bonds between polymer chains, increasing their rigidity and thus increasing Young's Modulus. Higher degrees of cross-linking result in higher Young's Modulus values.
  • Temperature and environmental conditions: Young's Modulus of polymers can vary with temperature and environmental conditions. The presence of moisture, for example, can affect the intermolecular forces within the polymer, leading to changes in Young's Modulus.

Measurement and Calculation of Young's Modulus

Measuring and calculating Young's Modulus is crucial to understanding the mechanical behavior of polymers. This value provides valuable insight into how a polymer will respond to applied stress and strain, making it essential in product design.

There are various experimental techniques used to measure Young's Modulus in polymers. These include:

  • Tensile testing and stress-strain curves: This technique involves subjecting a polymer sample to tension until it reaches its breaking point. The resulting stress-strain curve provides essential data for determining Young's Modulus.
  • Extensional methods: Uniaxial and biaxial extension tests measure Young's Modulus in specific directions. These methods help evaluate the anisotropic nature of polymers.
  • Other characterization techniques: Techniques such as nanoindentation and dynamic mechanical analysis can also be employed to measure Young's Modulus in polymers.

Calculation methods for Young's Modulus

Hooke's Law and stress-strain behavior interpretation play vital roles when calculating Young's Modulus:

  • Hooke's Law and its application to polymers: Hooke's Law states that the stress applied to a material is directly proportional to the strain it produces. This linear relationship allows for the calculation of Young's Modulus.
  • Interpretation of stress-strain behavior and determination of Modulus: By analyzing the stress-strain curve obtained from experimental data, the Modulus can be determined using mathematical methods tailored for polymers.

Role in Material Selection and Design

Young's Modulus helps engineers determine the stiffness and elasticity of polymers. Knowing Young's Modulus values allows them to select the appropriate material for a specific application. The higher the Young's Modulus, the stiffer the material will be, resulting in better resistance to deformation. This stiffness is crucial in applications where the polymer needs to withstand heavy loads or maintain its shape for a long time.

Some examples of how design engineers use Young's Modulus to select materials in different industries are listed below.

  • Automotive and aerospace applications: Young's Modulus is essential in designing components such as automotive body parts, airplane wings, and fuselages. It helps engineers ensure the materials can withstand the required forces and maintain their shape during operation.
  • Medical and healthcare applications: Young's Modulus is a consideration when developing medical devices, prosthetics, and implants. The Modulus ensures that the materials provide the necessary support, flexibility, and performance for patient safety and comfort.
  • Consumer goods and packaging: Young's Modulus comes into play in designing everyday products such as bottles, containers, and packaging materials. It helps determine the polymers' rigidity, flexibility, and impact resistance, ensuring they meet the specific requirements of the intended applications.
  • Industrial applications: Engineers can use the measure of stiffness or rigidity of a material to predict how polymers will behave under various conditions common in harsh industrial environments.

Relationship Between Young's Modulus and Product Performance and Durability

Because Young's Modulus directly affects a polymer's behavior under different loads and stresses, engineers can make informed decisions about material selection, design structures that can withstand specific loads, and ensure the safety and reliability of polymer-based products.

The knowledge of Young's Modulus allows for optimizing material properties, such as flexibility and strength, to meet the unique requirements of various industries. Whether in the automotive, aerospace, or medical field, an understanding of Young's Modulus enables the development of innovative solutions that are tailor-made for specific applications.

If you are an engineer involved in product design and would like guidance in selecting a suitable coating material for your application, please contact our team today. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about thin film properties, including elongation yield, elongation at break, or tensile strength at yield, browse our site. 

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Water Vapor Transmission Rate - Standards, Testing, Material

September 14, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties, Thin Film Applications


In the world of electronics, moisture control is of utmost importance. High water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) can pose significant risks to sensitive electronic devices. When moisture enters electronic components, it can lead to various issues, including corrosion, short circuits, and malfunctioning. These risks can result in costly repairs, product failures, and even safety hazards.

Manufacturers continually strive to create smaller, faster, and more powerful electronics. However, these advancements also often make the devices more susceptible to moisture damage. Implementing effective moisture control measures during the design and manufacturing process is essential to ensure the longevity and reliability of electronic components.

Water vapor transmission refers to the movement of water vapor through a material or substance. The water vapor transmission rate is a pivotal property for moisture control, and as such, measuring and managing WVTR is a priority in many applications.  


Understanding Water Vapor, Transmission, and Vapor Transmission

Water vapor refers to the presence of water in a gaseous state. Under certain temperature and pressure conditions, water vapor can condense into liquid water.

Transmission refers to the movement of any substance, whether liquids, gases, or solids, from one side of a barrier to the other. This movement can occur through various means, such as diffusion, permeation, or evaporation. Vapor transmission, on the other hand, specifically relates to the movement of water vapor molecules through a barrier.

Vapor transmission plays a crucial role in moisture control. Without the ability for water vapor to move freely through materials, moisture can become trapped, leading to mold growth, structural damage, and product degradation. By allowing water vapor to escape, vapor transmission helps prevent excessive moisture buildup.


Factors affecting vapor transmission

Several factors influence the rate of vapor transmission. These include temperature, pressure, and humidity.

  • Temperature variations can affect the rate water molecules transition between vapor and liquid states. Higher temperatures generally increase the speed of vapor transmission.
  • Pressure differentials between the two sides of a barrier can also impact vapor transmission. In some cases, pressure differentials can hinder or enhance the movement of water vapor.
  • Humidity levels, which measure the amount of water vapor in the air, can greatly influence vapor transmission. Higher humidity often leads to higher vapor transmission rates, while lower humidity may restrict the movement of water vapor through materials.


Water Vapor Transmission Standards and Testing

The ASTM standards outline the procedures and techniques for conducting WVTR tests, ensuring consistency and accuracy across different laboratories and testing facilities. These standards provide guidelines on sample preparation, test conditions, and data analysis, allowing for reliable and comparable results.

Overview of Permeability Testing Methods and Techniques

Permeability testing refers to the evaluation of how easily water vapor can permeate through a material or film. Several methods are available to measure WVTR, including the gravimetric method, the desiccant method, and the electrical measurement method. Each method has its advantages and limitations, and the choice of method depends on factors such as the material being tested and the required accuracy. You can read more about these methods here

Importance of Accurate Testing for Reliable WVTR Results

Accurate testing determines a material's true water vapor transmission rate. By following ASTM standards and utilizing appropriate testing methods, manufacturers can ensure that their products meet the necessary performance requirements and provide optimal moisture control.

Learn about relevant standards such as Ingress Protection Standards and NEMA Ratings.


Film and Polymer Materials

Thin films play integral roles in creating effective moisture barrier systems. These materials are designed to prevent water vapor passage, thereby protecting products and structures from moisture damage.

Specific properties and characteristics become priorities when evaluating coating materials for moisture control. Engineers should consider the following:

  • Water vapor permeability: measures how easily water vapor can pass through a material. Lower permeability indicates better moisture resistance.
  • Tensile strength: the ability of the coating material to resist breaking or tearing under tension
  • Elongation at break: The maximum elongation or stretch a material can undergo before breaking. Higher elongation allows for flexibility and resistance to tearing.
  • Chemical resistance: the resistance of the material to chemical substances, preventing degradation and maintaining its moisture control properties
  • Transparency: In specific applications, it is essential for the polymer material to maintain transparency, allowing consumers to evaluate products visually.

If you need a coating material with a low water vapor transmission rate or have questions about choosing suitable materials, contact our Applications Engineers for a DFM consult. Or, you can learn more about protective thin film coating properties.


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Transparent Polymers - Applications, Material Selection

September 14, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties, Thin Film Applications, Value of Coatings


Transparent polymers offer optical clarity and the ability to transmit light. With various applications across various industries, these polymers have gained popularity for their unique properties and versatility. Common transparent polymer types include acrylics, polycarbonates, parylenes, and polyurethanes. The molecular arrangement and morphology of transparent polymers play a crucial role in their transparency. Transparent polymers typically comprise transparent monomers that polymerize to form a solid material. A uniform and amorphous structure is of paramount importance in achieving optical clarity.

Read about refractive index, another optical property.

Applications of Transparent Polymers in Various Industries

Optics and Optical Devices

Transparent polymers are extensively used to produce lenses, optical fibers, LEDs, and displays. Due to their excellent optical clarity and refractive properties, these polymers contribute to the functionality and performance of these devices. They enable the transmission and manipulation of light, essential for achieving optimal performance in optics and optical devices.

Coatings and Films

Transparent polymer coatings and films are widely used for various applications, including protection, durability, and aesthetic enhancement. These coatings and films are applied on glass, metals, and electronics surfaces to provide a protective layer while maintaining transparency. Transparent polymer coatings and films also resist scratches, chemicals, and UV radiation.

Renewable Energy

They play a significant role in the fabrication and encapsulation of solar panels. They are transparent encapsulant materials that allow sunlight to be absorbed and transmitted to the photovoltaic cells within the solar panels. Transparent polymers help maximize the efficiency of solar panels by ensuring optimal light absorption and transmission.

Biomedical Applications

These polymers are extensively used in biomedical imaging, drug delivery systems, and tissue engineering. They enable clear visualization in imaging techniques and provide a platform for developing advanced drug delivery systems.

Displays and Electronics

Some of these polymers play a crucial role in the development of touch screens, flexible displays, and transparent conductive films used in electronics. They enable light transmission while providing electrical conductivity, making them essential components in the construction of displays and electronic devices. They also contribute to the production of sleek and high-performance electronic devices.

Coating Material Selection

Transparency, durability, and versatility make these polymers ideal for numerous applications. Transparent polymers enable technological advancements and enhanced user experiences from optical lenses to display screens. If you require this type of coating material for your product design and would like to speak to an engineer, HZO can help. Reach out today. Or, you can stay and read more about coating properties, including thermal conductivity, linear coefficient of expansion, and glass transition temperature

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Biocompatible Coatings - Coating Techniques, Applications, More

September 13, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Process, Coating Properties, Thin Film Applications


Biocompatible coatings seamlessly integrate with the human body, offering benefits through their ability to promote healing and prevent adverse reactions. They can improve patient outcomes, reduce complications, and enhance device functionality. As such, biocompatible coatings have become an indispensable tool in various medical applications.


What is Biocompatibility, and What Affects the Biocompatibility of Coatings?


Biocompatibility refers to the ability of a material to function without causing any harmful effects to the living tissues or organs it comes into contact with.

Several factors influence the biocompatibility of coatings. One such factor is the material composition. The choice of materials used in a coating can significantly impact its compatibility with the human body. Additionally, the surface properties of the coating play a vital role in determining its biocompatibility. Roughness, porosity, and surface energy can affect how the coating interacts with biological tissues and fluids.

When it comes to achieving biocompatibility in coatings, there are key considerations. First and foremost, the material should be non-toxic and non-allergenic. It should not trigger any adverse immune responses or elicit any toxic effects. Furthermore, the coating should withstand the physiological environment it will be exposed to, such as changes in pH, temperature, and mechanical stress.

Coating application processes also play a significant role in achieving biocompatibility. The application technique must ensure uniform coverage and adherence. Proper surface preparation and application techniques are essential to avoid issues arising from poor coating adhesion or inconsistencies.


Why are Biocompatible Coatings Important?

Biocompatible coatings can significantly influence the body's response to medical devices and implants. A well-designed biocompatible coating can minimize inflammatory responses, prevent bacterial adhesion, and promote tissue integration. Furthermore, by providing a protective and biologically compatible barrier, these coatings enhance the safety and effectiveness of medical devices, improving patient outcomes.

There have been several successful applications of biocompatible coatings in medicine and biomedical engineering. Here are a few examples:

  • Orthopedic implants: Biocompatible coatings have been used on orthopedic implants to improve their longevity and reduce inflammation and tissue rejection.
  • Drug delivery systems: Coatings have been developed to encapsulate and protect drugs, allowing for targeted delivery and controlled release within the body.
  • Stents: Biocompatible coatings on stents help to prevent blood clot formation and promote healing in cardiovascular applications.
  • Dental implants: Coatings on dental implants enhance biocompatibility, improving the integration of the implant with the surrounding bone.


Coating Technologies

Various coating technologies are employed to achieve biocompatibility in different medical devices. These technologies involve using specific materials and techniques to create coatings that meet the required standards:

Chemical Composition

Different biocompatible coating materials, including polymers, such as Parylene, ceramics, and metals, are used. Each type has its unique characteristics and advantages for medical applications. Polymers, for example, are known for their flexibility and ability to mimic natural tissues. Ceramics offer excellent wear resistance and can provide a stable surface for cell growth, while metals are valued for their durability and strength.

Coating Techniques

Each coating technique has its advantages and limitations. The selection of a particular method depends on factors such as the desired coating properties, the substrate material, and the intended application. The deposition of biocompatible coatings requires specific techniques to ensure uniformity and adherence to the substrate. Several coating techniques are commonly employed in the medical industry, including:

  • Chemical vapor deposition (CVD): In this technique, a precursor gas is introduced into a chamber and reacts to form a coating on the surface of the substrate. CVD offers excellent coating conformity and is frequently used for coating stents and catheters.
  • Electrochemical deposition: Also known as electrodeposition, this technique involves using an electric current to deposit a material onto a substrate. It is typical for coating electrodes and medical implants.
  • Dip coating: This technique entails immersing the substrate into a bath of the coating material and then withdrawing it at a controlled rate. Dip coating provides a uniform and controlled coating and is often used in the fabrication of medical devices.
  • Spray coating: The coating material is atomized and applied to the substrate in a fine spray. This is a popular technique for coating dental implants and prosthetics.


Biocompatible Coatings Applications

Biocompatible coatings can be employed in manufacturing electronic devices, food processing equipment, and cosmetic products, among others. With their ability to provide a safe and reliable surface, biocompatible coatings offer advantages beyond the medical field.

However, within various areas of medicine, biocompatible coatings play a crucial role in enhancing the compatibility of medical devices, improving tissue engineering techniques, and revolutionizing drug delivery systems. These coatings have transformed the field of medicine by reducing rejection and adverse reactions and improving the overall efficiency of medical interventions. Three use cases are described below.

Medical Implants

One of the critical applications of biocompatible coatings is in the field of medical implants. For instance, in orthopedic implants, biocompatible coatings create an optimal environment for the implant to integrate seamlessly with the surrounding tissues and bones. Similarly, dental and cardiovascular implants benefit from biocompatible coatings, promoting long-term stability and functionality.

Drug Delivery Systems

Biocompatible coatings have revolutionized the field of drug delivery systems by improving stability, enhancing bioavailability, and enabling targeted drug delivery. The efficacy and safety of drug delivery are significantly improved by coating drug carriers such as nanoparticles, microparticles, and implants with biocompatible materials. These coatings protect the drugs from degradation, facilitate controlled release, and ensure targeted delivery to specific tissues or cells.

Biomedical Devices

Biocompatible coatings find extensive applications in various biomedical devices, including biosensors, microfluidic devices, and prosthetics. These coatings enable seamless integration and interaction with biological systems, enhancing the device's functionality and reducing the risk of adverse reactions. For example, biocompatible coatings on biosensors allow accurate and reliable detection of biomarkers, while coatings on prosthetic limbs improve their integration with the human body and enhance user comfort and mobility.


Factors Influencing Biocompatible Coating Selection

Selecting the most suitable material for a specific application is essential to ensure optimal biocompatibility and overall performance of the coating. There are various factors to consider when selecting materials for specific medical applications. These factors include:

  • Chemical composition: The specific chemicals used in the coating formulation can significantly influence its biocompatibility with the surrounding environment.
  • Surface interactions: Understanding how the coating interacts with the surrounding biological tissues and fluids is crucial to ensure proper biocompatibility.
  • Thickness and uniformity: The thickness and uniformity of the coating play a vital role in its ability to protect the underlying substrate and provide the desired properties.
  • Physical properties: The physical properties, such as hardness, flexibility, and adhesion strength, must be considered when selecting a coating for a specific application.

Please contact our engineers if you require a biocompatible coating material for your application or have questions about protective thin film coating properties. Meanwhile, please browse our resource section to learn about other relevant properties, such as tensile strength, yield elongation, and corrosion resistance.

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Dissipation Factor - Definition, Measurement, Variables

September 12, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties



Dielectric materials are crucial in various industries and applications, serving as insulators, substrates, or capacitors. One important characteristic often evaluated in dielectric materials is their dissipation factor. The dissipation factor, also known as the loss tangent or tan δ, is a vital parameter that measures the dielectric losses in electrical systems and components. It quantifies the energy dissipated as heat when an alternating current (AC) signal passes through an insulating material or a capacitor.


Why is Dissipation Factor Important?

This property provides valuable insight into the performance of dielectric materials. It measures the efficiency with which a dielectric material dissipates energy in the form of heat when subjected to an alternating current (AC) or high-frequency signal.

By analyzing this value, engineers can detect potential issues such as insulation breakdown, heat generation, and power loss, enabling them to effectively design and optimize electrical systems. Whether in high-frequency applications, power electronics, or telecommunications, the dissipation factor assists in selecting the appropriate materials, reducing energy loss, and enhancing electrical equipment's overall efficiency.
A high dissipation factor can indicate potential problems such as inefficient energy transfer or excessive heat generation in dielectric materials. By assessing this data, engineers can determine if a material is suitable for a specific application or needs replacing.

Measurement Techniques 

The dissipation factor is calculated by dividing the loss tangent of a dielectric material by its capacitance. The loss tangent is the ratio of the dissipated power to the stored energy in the material. There are several ways to determine the dissipation factor of various materials accurately. Professionals can use these techniques to obtain precise data and evaluate the performance and reliability of materials.

Bridge Method

The bridge method is a common measurement technique. It uses a bridge circuit consisting of resistors, capacitors, and inductors. By balancing the bridge, engineers can determine the material's dissipation factor under test.

Parallel-Plate Method

The parallel-plate method is another popular technique. It involves placing the material between two parallel plates and applying an alternating voltage across them. The dissipation factor is determined by measuring the power loss in the material.

Guard-Ring Method

The guard-ring method is a technique that minimizes the effects of stray capacitance during measurement. It involves placing a guard ring around the measurement electrodes to prevent current leakage due to the stray capacitance. This method helps to improve accuracy.

Variables Affecting Dissipation Factor

Several factors can influence the dissipation factor, affecting the efficiency and performance of electrical systems. Engineers and designers can optimize electrical systems by understanding and considering these factors, ensuring efficient and reliable operation.


Temperature plays a significant role. As the temperature increases, molecular motion and energy losses increase, leading to a higher value. It is important to consider the temperature range in which a material will be used to ensure its dissipation factor remains within acceptable limits.

Dielectric Loss

Dielectric loss refers to the energy lost as heat due to the interaction between the electric field and the dielectric material. Materials with higher dielectric losses tend to have higher dissipation factors. Selecting materials with low dielectric loss can help minimize dissipation and improve system performance.

Frequency of Operation

The frequency of operation has a direct impact. At higher frequencies, the energy losses from the materials increase significantly, leading to an increased value. It is essential to consider the operating frequency when evaluating the dissipation factor of materials for electrical systems.

Resistance in the Circuit

The resistance in the circuit also contributes to the dissipation factor. Higher resistance causes larger energy losses and a greater value. Minimizing resistance through proper circuit design and selecting low-resistance components can help reduce the overall dissipation factor.

 Material Selection

The dissipation factor provides valuable insights into the electrical behavior of components, enabling manufacturers to make informed decisions regarding their application in different industries. This value is relevant across various industries heavily relying on electrical components. Industries such as telecommunications, power generation, aerospace, and automotive require strict adherence to quality standards to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Engineers can compare materials' performance at high frequencies by evaluating this property. This evaluation allows them to select materials with lower dissipation factors, which result in reduced energy losses and improved system efficiency. Furthermore, optimizing this property can also lead to increased power handling capabilities and improved reliability. If you are designing an electronic product and need help selecting a protective coating with beneficial electrical properties, please contact our team for a consultation. Or, you can learn more about thin film coating properties.

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Volume Resistivity - Definition, Measurement, Product Design

September 12, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Whether designing circuit boards or protecting electrical components, knowledge of the volume resistivity of coating materials plays a pivotal role in creating efficient and reliable electronic products. This critical measurement refers to the ability of a material to resist the flow of electric current within its volume. In other words, it measures how well a substance conducts or insulates electricity.

Defining Volume Resistivity

Volume resistivity refers to a material's resistance per unit volume when an electric field is applied. It is measured in ohm-meters (Ω·m) and depends on the material's nature and composition.

One way to understand this property is by comparing it to electrical conductivity. While volume resistivity measures the resistance to the flow of current, electrical conductivity measures how easily current flows through a material. In other words, it is the inverse of electrical conductivity. Volume resistivity is especially important in coating materials used for electrical insulation. Insulating materials like polymers or ceramics need high values to prevent electrical current leakage and ensure the circuit's integrity.


Due to its importance, the accurate measurement of volume resistivity is essential to understanding the electrical conductivity of materials. By determining how well a coating material can resist the flow of electric current, engineers can assess its suitability for a wide range of applications.

Several techniques are common. One such method is the four-point probe technique, which involves passing a known current through a material and measuring the voltage drop across four evenly spaced points. This method enables precise calculations of the material's resistivity. Another popular technique is the two-point method. This approach passes a current through the material using two electrodes, and the voltage drop is measured. By applying Ohm's Law, the resistivity can be easily determined.

Specialized equipment is necessary to measure this value. This equipment includes multimeters, which can accurately measure voltage and current. Custom-built setups are often employed for specific applications to ensure precise measurement results.

Influencing Factors

Various factors can influence the volume resistivity of a coating material. These factors can alter the resistance properties of a material and potentially affect its performance in electrical applications. They include the following:

  • Material composition - the composition of a material plays a crucial role in determining its volume resistivity. Different materials have different electrical properties, which can significantly influence their resistance to electric current flow.
  • Molecular structure - materials with tightly packed and well-ordered molecular structures tend to have higher resistivity as the movement of free electrons is restricted.
  • Impurities - even small amounts of impurities can disrupt the movement of electrons, leading to changes in the coating material's electrical resistance.

Relationship Between Coating Materials and Volume Resistivity

Polymer materials have different volume resistivity values, determining their ability to conduct or resist electrical current. The volume resistivity of a polymer is directly influenced by its molecular structure and composition. Some examples of polymer materials with high values include polyethylene and polypropylene. These materials are commonly used in cable insulation and high voltage applications, where electrical current needs to be contained. On the other hand, polymer materials with low values, such as conductive polymers and carbon-filled composites, are often used as electrical conductors. They are suitable for applications requiring efficient electrical current flow.

Why is This Property Important for Product Design?

Volume resistivity is a critical value that helps determine the suitability of coating material for specific applications. Engineers can select the most appropriate materials to ensure optimal performance and safety by knowing how conductive or insulating a substance is. Additionally, understanding this property helps diagnose and prevent electrical failures in electronic products. Analyzing the volume resistivity of protective coating material within an electrical system allows potential issues, such as short circuits or unexpected voltage drops, to be identified and rectified before they cause significant damage or failures. This proactive approach saves time and money while enhancing the system's reliability. Last, volume resistivity is essential in complying with industry standards and regulations. Many sectors, including electronics, automotive, and aerospace, have stringent requirements for electrical systems. By ensuring that materials used in these systems possess the appropriate volume resistivity values, businesses can meet these standards and ensure the longevity of their products.

Significance in Circuit Design

In circuit design, selecting coating materials with appropriate volume resistivity is paramount. This property plays a significant role in ensuring electronic devices' proper functioning and performance. By selecting materials with appropriate volume resistivity, circuit designers can ensure the proper operation of different components, minimize the risk of electrical failures, and enhance the overall functionality of the circuit.

Overall, this is a critical factor to consider during circuit design. It not only influences the performance and efficiency of electronic devices but also allows for the optimization of circuit design by selecting materials based on their electrical properties. If you are searching for a protective coating with volume resistivity that meets the criteria for your application, please contact us; we may be able to help. For more information about the critical electrical properties of coating materials, please visit our coating properties page.


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UL94 Coating Material - Testing Method, Material Selection

September 8, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Fire safety compliance is an indispensable aspect across various industries. One crucial benchmark in fire safety compliance is UL94, a widely recognized standard for flammability testing of plastic materials. By evaluating the flammability characteristics of different materials, UL94 ensures that products meet the required safety standards and regulations. 

What is UL94? 

UL94 is a standard for evaluating plastic materials' flammability in various industries. It provides an objective and reliable assessment of the fire resistance properties of these materials. 

UL94 is an abbreviation for Underwriters Laboratories Standard 94, first introduced in 1972. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a global safety certification company that tests and certifies a wide range of products for their safety and performance. UL94 is one of the many standards developed by UL to ensure the safety of products and materials. 

The role of this standard in product and material safety assurance cannot be overstated. It helps engineers and manufacturers identify potential fire hazards by clearly demonstrating materials' flammability properties. This information mitigates risks and leads to the development of safer products. 

Flame ratings, such as V-0, V-1, V-2, HB, etc., indicate a material's ability to self-extinguish or resist flame propagation. Materials with higher flame ratings provide greater confidence in the product's safety and fire resistance. Understanding these ratings is essential in assessing the fire performance of materials and ensuring their compliance with safety standards; therefore, accurate data is critical. 

Learn about other standards, such as Ingress Protection Standards and NEMA ratings.

Testing Methodology 

The UL94 testing methodology is a standardized procedure used to determine the flammability characteristics of materials. The UL94 testing methodology subjects test specimens to controlled flame exposure, providing valuable information to manufacturers, regulators, and consumers. 

Several test methods are used in testing, including vertical burn, horizontal burn, and others. Each test method simulates specific fire scenarios and assesses different aspects of a material's flammability. Before testing, specimens are prepared according to particular requirements. This preparation includes cutting them into proper dimensions, removing any surface coatings, and ensuring consistency in sample preparation across different tests. 

UL94 testing occurs under specific standard test conditions, such as ambient temperature and flame duration. These conditions simulate real-life fire scenarios and allow for reliable material comparisons. Flame ratings are assigned based on specific criteria, such as the material's ability to self-extinguish within a particular time frame or its resistance to flame propagation. These criteria vary depending on the test method applied. 

Material Selection 

Understanding the relationship between material characteristics and fire resistance is crucial when choosing suitable plastic materials. UL94 testing helps engineers evaluate different materials' flammability, ignition, and burning characteristics to select the most appropriate options, ensuring that the chosen materials meet safety requirements and minimize potential risks.

When selecting coating materials for specific applications, there are several key considerations. These include the intended use, environmental conditions, mechanical properties, and chemical and fire resistance. A comprehensive understanding of UL94 test results enables engineers and designers to make well-informed decisions regarding material selection. If you are looking for a UL94-rated protective coating material or have questions for our engineering team, please contact us today. Or you can learn more about thin film protective coating properties, such as dielectric constant, Young's Modulus, biocompatibility, and glass transition temperature.

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Elongation Yield: Overview, Unit of Measure, Data and Testing

August 29, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Elongation yield refers to the maximum amount of deformation a material can undergo before it experiences a permanent change in shape or size. This property is fundamental in determining various coating materials' mechanical strength and behavior, making it an essential factor in design engineering and product design.  

Understanding how this property affects material performance is crucial in determining the suitability of coating material for a particular application. It directly affects the material's ability to deform without breaking and sustain loads without failure. This high-level overview will discuss elongation yield and its implications for product design. 

Elongation Yield: Material and Unit of Measure 

Elongation yield can be measured in various coating materials, including metals, polymers, and composites. Coating materials such as metals with higher values typically exhibit greater ductility, the measure of a material's ability to deform before fracture. 

On the other hand, coating materials with a lower elongation yield tend to be less ductile and more prone to brittle behavior. They have limited ability to deform before reaching their breaking point. Such materials are usually more suitable for applications that require high strength and rigidity but not necessarily significant deformation. 

Polymers, including plastics and rubber, display higher values than metals, enabling them to withstand extensive stretching or bending before breaking. 

Composites, which consist of two or more different material components, can possess varying characteristics depending on their composition. The individual materials within a composite can have different abilities to undergo elongation yield, making the overall behavior complex. 

Unit of Measure 

Two standard units of measure are used to quantify elongation yield: percentage and millimeters. 

The percentage unit of measure represents the elongation yield as a percentage of the original length of the material. For example, if a metal specimen stretches 10% before breaking, it has elongated by 10% of its original length. 

On the other hand, millimeters are used to measure the actual physical elongation of a material. This unit of measure provides a more tangible representation of the deformation a material undergoes before reaching its breaking point. 

Both units of measure have their advantages and are suitable for different applications. The choice between percentage and millimeters depends on the material type, testing specifications, and industry standards. 


BL0141-Yield Elogation-Inline 1

Data and Testing Method for Measuring 

When determining a material's elongation yield, reliable data and thorough testing methods are essential to ensure accurate measurements and a deeper understanding of how a material will perform under various conditions. The data obtained during material testing provides valuable insights into the behavior of a material and its elongation yield. It includes measurements such as strain and stress, which calculate values. 

  • Strain refers to the deformation experienced by a material when subjected to external forces. It is measured as the change in length divided by the original length. 
  • Stress is the force applied per unit area and is assessed by dividing the applied force by the original cross-sectional area. 

By analyzing the relationship between stress and strain, engineers can identify the point at which the material starts deforming permanently, known as the elongation yield point.  

Overview of the Different Testing Methods Used

Various testing methods are employed to measure this property, each offering advantages and limitations. Tensile testing, for example, is commonly used to evaluate a material's mechanical properties, including elongation yield. 

In tensile testing, a material sample is subjected to controlled tension until it reaches its elongation yield point. The resulting data helps determine the material's ability to withstand loads and deformations. 

On the other hand, impact testing measures the energy absorbed by a material when it fractures under sudden stresses. This method provides valuable insights into the material's toughness and resistance to sudden impacts. 

Other testing techniques, such as bend and hardness tests, can also provide insights. The bend test involves subjecting a material to bending forces to determine its flexibility and resistance to deformation. On the other hand, the hardness test measures the material's resistance to indentation, indirectly indicating its elastic deformation capabilities. 

Specific standards established by regulatory bodies and industry organizations govern the testing procedures. These standards ensure consistency and comparability of test results across different laboratories and manufacturers. 

Importance in Material Selection and Design 

Engineers and designers can make informed decisions regarding coating material by considering the elongation yield. They can determine the material's capacity to stretch and deform before reaching its breaking point, safeguarding the reliability of the end product.  

Moreover, understanding the elongation yield can also help optimize designs, reduce material waste, and enhance overall efficiency. Engineers can create designs that balance strength, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness by accurately predicting the coating material's behavior based on elongation yield values.  

Electronic product reliability hinges on protective coating durability. If a coating breaks in any way, it could open the door to corrosives, chemicals, and other contaminants that could cause electronics to stop working. Therefore, understanding the elongation yield value is vital in ensuring electronic products' safety, durability, and performance in real-world applications. If you need help identifying the best coating material for your application, please contact our Applications engineers for a DFM consult. Alternatively, you can learn more about our coating protection capabilities, including Young's modulus, elongation at break, and tensile strength at yield.  

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Difference Between Water Resistant, Repellent, & Proof

August 10, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities


graphic explaining the difference between waterproof, water-resistance, and water-repellent

We all see references to waterproof, water-resistant, and water-repellant devices being thrown around on electronic products. The big question is: What’s the difference? There are a lot of articles written on this topic, but we figured we would throw in our two cents as well and take a closer look at the differences between all three terms, with a specific focus on the world of devices.


a waterproof phone underwater


First of all, let’s start with some quick dictionary definitions of waterproof, water-resistant, and water-repellent, as given by the Oxford English Dictionary:

  • Water-resistant: able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely
  • Water-repellent: not easily penetrated by water, especially as a result of being treated for such a purpose with a surface coating
  • Waterproof: impervious to water


What Does Water-Resistant Mean?

Water resistance is the lowest level of water protection of the three. If a device is labeled as water-resistant, it means that the device’s construction makes it more difficult for water to get inside of it or possibly that it is coated with a very light substance that helps improve the device’s chances of surviving an encounter with water. Water-resistant qualities are great for products such as watches because they help those products withstand light rain or washing your hands.

What Does Water-Repellent Mean?

Water-repellent coatings are the next step up from water-resistant coatings. Devices labeled as water-repellent have properties that repel water from them, which makes them hydrophobic. Water-repellent devices have a better chance of surviving a watery encounter. Most have thin-film nanotechnology, which can coat the inside and outside of an electronic device.  Many companies claim water-repellency, but the term is heavily debated because a durable water-repellent is rare and because of all the questions and unpredictable elements associated with it.

What Does Waterproof Mean?

Defining “waterproof” is simple, but the concept is more complicated. There is no established industry standard to classify a device as waterproof. The closest thing currently available, as far as a rating scale is concerned, is the Ingress Protection Rating scale (or IP Code). The IP Code assigns items a rating from 0-8 in terms of how effective the device is at keeping water from entering into it, a process called the ingress of water. One major flaw in this rating system: What about companies like us here at HZO who are not concerned about keeping water out of a device to save it from water damage? Our coatings allow water inside devices, but the waterproof material we coat them with protects them from any possible water damage. HZO’s services have a different intention than the effect the IP scale can measure. Still, our coatings help you protect your electronic devices from water damage.

Companies take a measured risk when labeling a product as waterproof. Most consumers assume that waterproofing is a permanent condition. Still, devices exposed to “waterproofing” can face water damage in certain situations.

Using the term waterproof can also be considered a risky move for many companies. This is because "waterproof" usually communicates that this is a permanent condition and that whatever has been ‘waterproofed’ will never fail due to contact with water–no matter the situation.

With all the controversy surrounding the correct use and results associated with these terms, it’s no wonder many people use them incorrectly. Unsurprisingly, the products labeled as water-resistant, water-repellent, or waterproof are often misrepresented due to incorrect labeling. The words almost need new definitions with how far technology has come since these terms were first used. We also need a standard to measure a device’s waterproof qualities and represent the possibilities and kinds of technology like HZO that are commercialized and available to device makers now. This outdated scale can’t measure the power of our coatings.


What About Splashproof?

A splashproof product has a limited ability to resist water damage and is not immersible. For example, if you take your splashproof headphones with you on a run, they’ll be safe from sweat or droplets from your water bottle, but they won’t survive falling into a puddle.

Using the IP scale can demonstrate the differences between splashproof vs. waterproof products. Most waterproof electronics have an IP67 rating. A product qualifies as splashproof if it has an IP44 rating.

The scale from splashproof to waterproof includes:

  • IP44. An IP44 product withstands splashes from any direction, making it splashproof. These products are safe from solid materials larger than 1 millimeter.
  • IP55. These products resist low-pressure jets from any direction. IP55 products also have some protection against dust.
  • IP66. An IP66 product can withstand strong jets from any direction and completely protect against dust.
  • IP67. These products are suited for complete immersion at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes. This distinction qualifies them as waterproof. They also have total protection against dust.


An HZO Protected World

Because of the advanced level of protection available for electronics that protect them from water, sweat, other liquids and corrosion, the need for new standards is necessary to raise the bar in the minds of consumers. That’s why HZO is seeking to create an HZO Protected World and asking for people everywhere to help us tell the device makers of the world that we want electronics that have better, more reliable protection. Protection from the Inside Out.

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What Does Waterproof Actually Mean? Seriously.

June 15, 2023 / by Ryan Moore posted in Protection Capabilities


HZO's Ingress Protection Checklist

Download HZO's Ingress Protection Checklist

Your shiny new smartwatch claims to be IP57 waterproof, your new phone claims to be water protected, and a slew of new electronic devices are entering the market boasting ‘water resistance.’ Yet, all of these devices may not survive an encounter in the rain or an accidental drop in the toilet. So, how do you know what’s what in the world of water-protected electronics?

Clever advertising and loosely applied water protection ratings have led consumers to believe that the stamp of an IP rating or a water-resistant buzzword means that the device in question can take a dip in the pool or, at the very least, hack it in the shower. But sadly, that’s usually not the case.


So What’s The Problem?

As manufacturers have tried to meet the growing consumer demand for water-resistant electronics, they have emphasized citing IP Code ratings. As beneficial as these ratings can be in certain situations, there is one major flaw: they don’t tell the whole story. Here’s the truth about IP and IP57 ratings.



What Does IP57 Really Mean?

An IP rating is a standard for water resistance in electronics. Water resistance is measured by numbers 1 through 9. There are two types of IP ratings, which include:

  • Two-digit IP ratings: Two-digit IP ratings are used to indicate both water and particle resistance. The first digit displays particle and solid resistance, while the second digit shows the water protection level. If you own an electronic that has an IP rating of IP57, that device offers level 5 particle resistance and level 7 water protection.
  • One-digit IP ratings: Unlike two-digit ratings, one-digit IP ratings are metrics designed to show water resistance only, which means an ‘X replaces the first digit.’

For example, a rating of IPX7 would offer level 7 water protection out of 9 levels and is defined as can be submerged up to 1 meter in water for 30 minutes.

Is IPX7 Waterproof?

Well, that’s kind of a long story.

When a device claims to be waterproof or water-resistant, it’s important to understand that these terms may not always carry the meaning you expect. Waterproof means impervious to water and all of the destruction that comes with it.

Ultimately, it all depends on the manufacturer and the level of water resistance for which you’re looking. Different IP ratings offer different types of protection, and you need to understand them if you want to have a better grasp of whether or not your IPX5, IPX7, or IP57 device is genuinely waterproof.


one phone underwater that is still working because of HZO protection and another that is dead because of water damage
IP and IPX Standards

It can be challenging to follow vague waterproof marketing terms when you have little to no reference for what the actual numbers and ratings mean. Let’s go through a few of the IP rating standard basics.

The water protection numbers exist on a scale of 1 to 9, while the solid protection metric operates on a scale from 1 to 6. Some of the most common numbers used to indicate high levels of water resistance are IPX5, IPX7, and IP57, each of which offers a different type of protection:

  • IPX5: An IPX5 rating implies that a device can endure direct contact with water that’s projected from a nozzle.

  • IPX7: IPX7 is one of the highest ratings, and ideally, it means that a device is durable enough to survive after being submerged in up to 3 feet of water for 30 minutes.

  • IP57: IP57 indicates a high (though not the highest) protection level from dust and water exposure.

The issue with these ratings is that it can be hard to tell whether they’ll apply to real-world situations. To gain an IP certification, all an electronics manufacturer must send their device to a third-party laboratory to run the standard tests. If one (yes, just one) passes the test, the entire device line gets the determined IP certification. See the problem here?

So, one tenacious device passes the IPX7 test, and the whole team gets to play as ‘IPX7.’ And with the sparkling new certification comes a heaping pile of consumer confusion. “Does IPX7 mean waterproof?” “Does IP57 mean water-resistant?” “What can I actually do with my device?”


When Traditional Ratings Fail

To truly understand what your ‘water-resistant device’ is capable of, you need to read, and we might add, carefully read the manufacturer's terms and conditions. Let’s take a hypothetical, newly introduced ‘waterproof’ Android, for instance. The phone is advertised as “Waterproof*. Dust-tight. Worry-free.” It also maintains an IP65 and IP68 rating. But what does the asterisk mean?

If we look a little closer at the fine print, we find that the phone should never be put completely underwater or exposed to seawater, salt water, chlorinated water, or liquids such as drinks and juices. And if the ports and covers aren’t firmly closed, all protection bets are off.

So What’s The Answer?

HZO is seeking to detangle the web of confusion that is currently surrounding the ‘waterproof electronics’ market by offering a superior water protection solution. A solution without limits, boundaries, or fine print. Using next-generation conformal coatings, HZO creates a thin film barrier between the vital circuitry of the electronics and any liquid or debris that could potentially harm it. No need for seals, gaskets, port covers, or cases, and in theory, no real need for confusing IP standards. HZO Protection is the standard.

If you’re looking for a solution that can make your products more robust and, well, better, we’re here to help. Our coatings can help make a wide range of electronics more usable from almost any location, enhancing product reliability and, even better — saving money.

To learn more from a skilled professional about how we can help your product exceed IP57 and IPX7 ratings, contact us today.

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Traditional Waterproofing vs. Conformal Coating Waterproofing

June 6, 2023 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities


Traditional Waterproofing vs. Conformal Coating Waterproofing

These days, we take our electronic devices everywhere and expect them to be waterproof. People want to take photos at the beach and in the swimming pool, some tweets and texts must be delivered while in the shower, and bath time isn’t the same without a movie on your shiny new iPad.

We get it.

The problem is that water is in more places than you realize. Liquid can creep into devices in more ways than we can see, and what you may consider a “safe place” to rest your device may not be safe. Lately, companies all over the world are trying to stop this problem. Everywhere you turn, a new phone, camera, or tablet is announced with the added benefit of “waterproof” protection.


rubber seals used as waterproofing methods


Traditional Device Waterproofing

For a phone, headphones, tablet, or wearable to be deemed waterproof, it has to be completely sealed against water. Most companies add this protection by either “ruggedizing” the product, which generally makes it pretty big and bulky, or by adding seals to the inside that act as a barrier against liquid ingress. Physical barriers sound like a great idea until you consider that these seals are easily damaged or dislodged.

When the product is dropped, when the temperature around the product becomes too hot or cold, or when the seal is not placed properly, the seal can allow water and moisture inside the product. Even a tiny amount of liquid can cause long-term problems with corrosion and short-circuiting that won’t be noticed until it’s too late. Say goodbye to all the pictures you took last Christmas and shots of your favorite cat, Sprinkles. They are gone for good.


a PCB being held


Waterproofing with Conformal Coatings

Now that you know these “waterproof” products are only as waterproof as the rubber seals inside, this is where we come in. If you haven’t figured it out by now, we here at HZO offer the world an alternative to internal rubber seals and bulky, ugly cases. We don’t protect against water leaking into your device. We protect against water in your device. HZO coatings create a barrier between your product and any liquid that could potentially cause harm to a completely waterproof electronic.



To learn more, contact us today.

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Dielectric Constant of Insulator Materials: Formula, Table of Values

October 12, 2022 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities


Depending on their formulated ingredients and molecular structures, thin film coatings may be electrically conductive, insulative, or semiconductive. Insulative coatings serve several purposes, including providing dielectric strength to protect components exposed to high voltages and arc resistance. Dielectric constant (relative permittivity), the ability of plastics to store electrical energy, is another important electric function.
Read more about the dielectric strength formula.

Why is Dielectric Constant Important?

Knowing the dielectric constant is vital because lower and higher values are conducive to different applications.

For example, coatings with low values are preferred for high-frequency, high-speed circuits because they contribute little capacitance (ability to store electric charge). In these applications, high capacitance causes changes in component values and delays in switching times. The capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor is directly proportional to the dielectric constant of an insulator separating conductors and the area between the conductors. Therefore, capacitance can be reduced by using an insulator with a low value.

On the other hand, coatings with high dielectric constants and low dissipation factors make useful capacitors.


What is a Good Dielectric Constant for Insulating Coatings?

Dielectric constants for insulating coatings range from 2 to 8. Optimal electrical insulating coatings have low values and retain them over wide frequency, humidity, and temperature ranges.

The values arise from their electronic polarization abilities, and materials with low values include perfect vacuum, gases such as helium, nitrogen, and dry air.

The table below shows the dielectric constant of selected polymer conformal coatings.

Conformal Coating Type Dielectric Constant (1MHz) Desired
Parylene N 2.65 Low
Parylene C 2.95 Low
Acrylic 3.0- 4.0 Low
Epoxy 3.3 – 4.0  Low
Silicone 2.6 – 2.7 Low
Urethane 4.2 – 5.2 Low


How is it Calculated?

This constant ε is referred to as the dielectric constant or permittivity and is represented by the equation:

Dielectric Constant Formula

where Cm is the dielectric material’s capacitance and Cv is a vacuum’s capacitance.

ASTM D150 is a standard test method for measuring dielectric constants in which a sample is placed between two metallic plates of a measuring device. Capacitance is measured with the specimen in place and without. The ratio of these two measurements is the dielectric constant.

What Affects Values?

Values depend upon many factors, such as moisture content, frequency, and temperature. For example, the value will increase with increasing temperature at a constant frequency. Additionally, it may decrease or increase depending on variations in its composition. For instance, adding ceramic fillers with high dielectric constants will increase values.

Ultimately, it is important to gather accurate, reproducible data from testing that simulates the environment in which a component will operate to choose the best coating. Learn more about coating thin film coating properties such as volume resistivity and dissipation factor here.

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What is the Dielectric Strength Formula? Testing, Table of Values

September 16, 2022 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities



Although thin film coatings serve many purposes, providing dielectric isolation and electrical insulation is one of the essential functions. Dielectric strength is an important electrical parameter that helps design engineers understand the effectiveness of a coating’s insulation resistance. It is helpful to be familiar with the exact electrical values for this property and to know how the values may be affected by environments, such as humidity and temperature, and purity, structure, and composition of the coating material.

Read more about electrical properties such as dissipation factor and dielectric constant of insulator materials.


What is Dielectric Strength, and Why is it Important?

Dielectric strength is a coating’s ability to endure an applied voltage without breakdown. This parameter is the highest voltage (typically stated in volts per mil thickness) at which no dielectric breakdown occurs. It quantifies how strong a conformal coating’s insulation is, with a higher number signifying the insulating material’s high resistance to dielectric breakdown.

Maintaining dielectric resistance is critical for impedance and signal integrity concerns, as the insulating material must keep the circuit working correctly. Enhancing dielectric strength protects the circuit board’s long-term function. The safety and effectiveness of a device with a circuit board rely on an entirely closed system, so insulation with high dielectric resistance is critical.

Additionally, PCB designs can be more compact when they feature a coating with increased dielectric strength. Integrating more capability into smaller form factors in the demanding electronics industry is crucial to staying ahead of the curve.

At both high and low voltages, dielectric considerations are particularly important for the reliability of electronic circuits.

Knowing the dielectric strength of a coating is critical for designing reliable electronics intended to operate at high voltages, as higher values represent a better insulator quality. If a coating is exposed to a voltage that causes breakdown, it will be rendered useless. Therefore, the data should be accurate – measured carefully to obtain reproducible results under specified conditions in a test.

Understand thin film properties in greater detail


Dielectric Strength Vs. Dielectric Breakdown Voltage Vs. Dielectric Constant – What is the Difference?

Dielectric breakdown voltage is the voltage threshold at which actual failure occurs. This value is also expressed in volts per mil thickness; these two terms are used interchangeably.

Dielectric strength and dielectric constant are both electrical properties. However, the former is the maximum voltage that can be applied to a material before it loses its insulating properties, and the dielectric constant is the capacity of a material to store electrical energy. These values are also expressed differently. Dielectric constant is a ratio with no units of measurement.


How is It Measured?

Several standard dielectric strength tests exist, including ASTM D149 and IPC-TM-650, Method 2.5.7. There are three basic procedures: the short-time method, the step-by-step method, and the slow rate-of-rise method. All these methods entail the same setup – a test specimen placed between two electrodes in oil or air.

In the short-time method, the most common test, voltage is applied across the two electrodes and raised to dielectric breakdown at a uniform rate. Breakdown is an electrical burn-through puncturing the specimen or decomposition in the sample.


circuit board coated with high dielectric strength parylene

Dielectric Strength Formula

With this test data, it is possible to calculate dielectric strength. The formula is to divide the breakdown voltage by the thickness of the sample. The value is reported in volts per mil thickness.


What Material Has High Dielectric Strength?

Organic coatings generally have much higher dielectric strength than inorganic or ceramic coatings. Materials that contain impurities, voids, and moisture will have lower breakdown voltages.

The table below shows the material dielectric strength of polymer conformal coatings.


Conformal Coating Type Dielectric Strength Desired
Parylene N 7000 High
Parylene C 5600 High
Acrylic 1200 High
Epoxy 900-1000 High
Silicone 1100-2000 High
Urethane 1400-3000 High

Source: Handbook of Plastics, Elastomers, and Composites, 4th Edition, McGraw Hill, Inc. New York, 2002. Chapter 6.


Why Do Insulating Coatings Break Down, and What Affects Dielectric Strength?

Even the most effective insulation materials contain a few free electrons and ions due to molecular imperfections or thermal agitation. The physical breakdown of the coatings is likely due to an electron “avalanche” effect (a large increase in electrons) within the coating. Several factors can affect this value. First, the thickness of the coating has an effect. Thinner coatings have higher values. A coating’s purity and physical integrity (lack of air void and pinholes) contribute to its effectiveness as an insulator. Dielectric strength decreases as impurities or imperfections increase. In terms of operating environments, exposure to moisture and elevated temperatures cause pronounced declines in values. In some instances, though, the final value is sufficiently high for most applications. To learn more about the electrical parameters of thin film coatings, read our protection capabilities page.

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Arc Resistance - Concepts and Testing Explained

August 12, 2022 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities


Insulating materials such as Teflon, plastic, rubber, ceramic, or glass ensure products function properly and safely. However, no insulator is perfect. These materials still contain trace amounts of mobile charges that can carry current. Non-conductive polymeric coatings provide critical protection to electronic components, but these materials can become conductive when electric current travels along their surfaces due to chemical and thermal decomposition and material erosion. Therefore, the arc resistance electric property is considered when selecting materials where reliable insulation is a priority.


Arc Resistance Definition

Arc resistance is defined as the ability of an insulating material to withstand a high voltage, low current arc and resist the development of a conducting pathway along its surface. More specifically, it measures the time in seconds an electrical arc may exist on an insulator’s surface before the material’s breakdown occurs.  

Arc resistance coating on a PCB


This property is helpful as a design criterion to choose materials for situations vulnerable to electric arcing but serves other purposes, acting as:

  • A quality control method
  • A way to screen materials for applications susceptible to arcing
  • Determining changes in insulation behavior due to aging, irradiation, exposure to temperature or humidity, chemical and thermal decomposition, contamination, and erosion

Arc Resistance Testing

The ASTM D495 test uses a high-voltage, low-current arc to simulate service conditions and evaluate dry, uncontaminated samples. According to the ASTM D945 arc resistance test, specimens are placed between electrodes, and an arc is generated at specified current densities and scheduled intervals. The total elapsed operation time until test failure determines a material’s arc resistance.

Several arc testers that comply with this test method are commercially available.

Test Methods ASTM D 2132, D 2303, and D 3638 entail wet testing with contaminated specimens.

How to Improve Arc Resistance

Differing molecular structures, formulation ingredients such as curing agents, and physical and chemical surface conditions cause arc resistances of coatings to vary widely. Fillers, such as glass or mineral fillers, can improve the arc resistance of polymer coatings, easily doubling or tripling the arc resistance of unfilled epoxy resin systems.  

Additionally, resistance increases when the coating surface is kept dry and contaminant-free. Even touching the surface will reduce resistance due to moisture, oils, and salts transferred from the fingers.


Choosing The Right Coating

Not all coatings have exact arc resistance values due to issues with testing. Some crack, gum up, or melt during testing. When precise values that can be reproduced are acquired, they result from the material’s stability, purity, and surface cleanliness. If you need to evaluate material for a project, you can ask coating suppliers if an exact value is available.

Contact us or read about other critical electric thin film properties, such as volume resistivity or dissipation factor

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Parylene Chemical Resistance Properties - Overview

January 21, 2022 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Parylene, Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Choosing a conformal coating can be a complex decision that entails understanding the environment your electronic products will be operating in and taking stock of the threats to reliability associated with that environment. Will the coating need to be biocompatible? Transparent? How thick should the coating be?  

Considerations may include the operational temperature range for components and integrated circuits – will the coating you choose maintain performance throughout this range? Will your product be exposed to high levels of corrosives, humidity, or even immersion, requiring a coating with strong barrier properties? Will the environment entail exposure to various chemicals? If so, Parylene’s superior chemical resistance properties may present an ideal solution for the medical and automotive industries.

Learn more about what Parylene is used for 


Parylene Coating Chemical Resistance

Chemically inert Parylene conformal coatings exhibit exceptional resistance to solvents at room temperature, maintaining this property to 150° C. This resistance prevents erosion, delamination, and other minimizations of coating effectiveness, ensuring dependable performance. Additionally, Parylene coatings are highly resistant to inorganic reagents, including alkalis and strong acids.

Download HZO’s Parylene datasheet


Parylene coating has excellent chemical resistance to solvents and reagents, including those listed below:

Acids, Bases, Corrosives
Hydrochloric acid, 10%
Sulfuric acid, 10%
Nitric acid, 10%
Hydrofluoric acid, 10%
Sodium hydroxide solution, 10%
Ammonium hydroxide solution, 10%
Hydrogen peroxide in water (H2O2)


Watch Dr. Sean Clancy expand on Parylene chemical resistance in his webinar


Organic Solvents
2-Propanol (IPA)

The exceptional chemical resistance of Parylene is one of the many beneficial properties that sustain component performance for the length of its expected lifecycle.


Parylene C Chemical Resistance

Parylene comes in various types, including Parylene N, C, and F (VT-4), and each type has unique properties, ensuring an appropriate Parylene for every project. Parylene C coatings specifically survive exposure to the corrosive liquids and solids mentioned above and much more. Parylene C has excellent chemical resistance to most solvents and reagents used in processing electronics and other products, including (dilute / ~10 % concentration) acids, bases, and organic solvents, such as isopropyl alcohol.

Understand how chemical resistance influences Parylene removal processes


Why is Parylene Chemical Resistance so High?

Parylene’s exceptional chemical resistance is partially due to the unique vacuum deposition method used to apply the coatings, chemical vapor deposition (CVD). In this vapor phase coating process, the polymer chains pack tightly against one another, making Parylene resistant to chemicals passing through the coating and reacting with the film.

Compared to liquid-derived and assembled monolayers, the chemically stronger film consistency is the source of Parylene’s chemical/solvent resistance.


Parylene Chemical Reaction

Typical Parylene deposition process, illustrated with Parylene N


Download our infographic for an illustrated guide to CVD

If you would like to learn more about Parylene coatings, please visit our Parylene page or explore one of our webinars for an in-depth discussion about Parylene delivered by one of our engineers. If you have decided Parylene is a strong choice for your application, please contact our applications engineering team today for a no-pressure consultation and understand our unique manufacturing advantages that drive down Parylene pricing

Read more about the advantages of working with HZO, including scalable Parylene coating equipment and Parylene masking automation.

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NEMA vs IP Ratings Explained

April 14, 2021 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Once upon a time, computers only sat perched on desktops, but that is no longer the case. Deployed in harsh industrial, medical, automotive, and consumer household environments, electronics must now withstand exposure to water and liquids ranging from “condensing” moisture to total submersion that requires waterproof design. They must reliably operate despite threats posed by humidity, corrosives, and other outdoor contaminants.

To assure your customers that your electronic products can dependably withstand these challenges, you must meet reliability standards, such as Ingress Protection (IP) Standards or National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) Protection Ratings. These systems classify an enclosure’s protection level from harmful elements by defining protection posed by solids and liquid ingress. It is crucial to select the correct standard to assure your clientele that the product you offer will be reliable in specific environments. This choice can be complicated because comparing NEMA vs IP rating systems is impossible, but alternative solutions may eliminate the need to select one or the other.


View our webinar to see if it’s time to rethink enclosures.

IP vs. NEMA-Rated Enclosures

Any comparison of Ingress Protection ratings and NEMA standards will only be approximate. An IP Rating only considers enclosure protection against water ingress and solid foreign objects. Meanwhile, the NEMA rating system, often used as an industrial enclosure rating system, considers these factors, as well as other hazards such as corrosion. So, while you can say a NEMA type is equivalent to an IP rating, it is impossible to say that an IP rating equals a NEMA rating. Additionally, the two systems use different test parameters to define the level of protection, so there is no easy conversion.


NEMA Ratings

NEMA electrical enclosure ratings have numeric values, sometimes followed by a letter. Each rating corresponds to the hazards an enclosure must protect its interior and may indicate indoor or outdoor use.

You can explore a quick guide to specific NEMA ratings here.

When choosing a NEMA enclosure type, it’s essential to consider both the environmental hazards the interior needs protection from and the enclosure location to use NEMA ratings appropriately. For example, a NEMA 4 rating is popular because it accommodates outdoor environments and multiple weather types. NEMA rating 4X features watertight seals, corrosion resistance, and protection from dust for more extensive protection.


IP Ratings

IP ratings may be designated by two or three numbers corresponding to protection from solids, liquids, and impacts. X replaces the number if a device does not have a specific rating. The first number signifies the object size that the enclosure prevents from entering. The higher the value, the more protection from solid ingress, such as windblown dust.

The next value indicates liquid ingress protection, with digits ranging from zero to eight, with increasing amounts of protection as the numbers increase. Finally, the third value corresponds to the mechanical impact an enclosure can withstand. This value may not be present in some electronic products because most codes do not require its presence.

A short guide to IP specifications can be found here.


Read our IP Checklist


Rethinking Enclosure Standards

IP or NEMA standards may not be the best indicator for the degree of protection you need. For example, while IP liquid ingress testing works in the lab, it may not perform the same in real life. Chances are that you will still need to demonstrate that your product can meet these standards to meet customer specifications.

Thin-film coatings can be an easy and efficient way to meet both NEMA and IP liquid ingress standards. These polymeric barriers protect from the inside by directly applying components and PCBAs. They are lightweight and thin, helping you eliminate seals and, therefore, excess bulk and weight. The protective coatings also blend into the product so you can offer aesthetically pleasing, ergonomic, and functional products easily. Thin-film coatings can be used in a two-phase approach to protection that is failsafe and can help you save money and time customizing enclosures.


HZO Coatings and Relevant Standard Equivalents

NEMA vs IP table comparing HZO coatings to the standard


Contact Us


HZO offers thin-film coatings to protect your electronic products. We focus on tailored solutions to your protection requirements and can help you exceed liquid standards easily with proven solutions, with no enclosure testing required. Download our datasheets, or send us a message for a consultation.

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The Evolution of Waterproofing - Medieval Waterproofing

April 1, 2021 / by Ryan Moore posted in Protection Capabilities


The Evolution of Waterproofing

What do a pirate ship and a Samsung S21 smartphone have in common? No, this is not the beginning of some strange joke. The truth is that all of these items, at one time or another, have been labeled as “waterproof.” Let’s take a look at the history of waterproofing and how we got to the waterproof solutions that exist today.


Medieval & Ancient Waterproofing

Over the years, the definition of what makes an item waterproof has changed quite a bit, so let’s start at the beginning. Long before using special technology or chemicals, like those used in modern-day waterproofing, people used substances found in nature like tar, pitch, oil, or wax to give objects waterproof qualities.


How Were Wooden Ships Made Waterproof?

On ships, tar or pitch waterproofing was the most common method used. Wooden boats were made water-resistant by putting tar in the boat's hull. The pitch or tar sealed the wooden boards of the ship together, keeping water out and allowing the boat to float. Sailors also utilized oil on their sails in another form of waterproofing. This trick started back in the sixteenth century when sails were greased with oil to help the fabric withstand the harsh sea environment and better survive the battering rains that come during an intense storm.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the use of wax also began to surge in popularity as a waterproofing method. The general consumer of the nineteenth century could weave wax-covered threads into clothing to give them waterproof fabric. Later in the twentieth century, the aviation industry covered fabric wings in waxed fabrics to waterproof them in case of bad weather. All these ancient forms of waterproofing, whether by tar, oil, or wax, shared the common goal of keeping water off or out of an object. These waterproofing techniques were soon replaced by much more reliable options.


20th Century Waterproofing

Moving forward 100 years, the title “waterproof” is now everywhere. For example, anyone can purchase aerosol waterproofing for fabrics. The next evolution in waterproofing was the invention and use of mechanical plugs and seals in devices designed to prevent water damage in any sensitive components that could be damaged by coming in contact with it. Mechanical seals and gaskets essentially work as a plastic, or rubber, physical barrier between parts of the device and the water outside.

These seals allowed devices to be used in new ways and taken to new places. The problem with these seals, however, is that they are temperamental. Any change in temperature or pressure causes the seal to expand or contract, breaking the waterproof closure and allowing water penetration into the device or object. Sudden bumps or drops can also affect how these mechanical seals fit, as can errors in user application.


Learn more about HZO Coatings


Modern Waterproofing

Jumping ahead to the present, a new era in waterproofing solutions was born with the entrance of thin-film nanotechnology waterproofing companies like HZO. Yet, according to the strictest definition, even this highly advanced technology is not considered “waterproof.” The definition of waterproof, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is: “impervious to water; especially: covered or treated with a material (as a solution of rubber) to prevent permeation by water.”

This thin-film protective coating technology changed the entire idea of waterproofing by allowing water inside of a device while still keeping it perfectly functional. So perhaps it is time for Merriam-Webster to update its definition. Modern waterproofing doesn’t require that an object be “impervious to water” but that it keeps working even while fully submerged. In short, HZO’s technology changed the way the world defines waterproofing.



With the way technology has evolved over the years, it is clear that the next evolutionary step in waterproofing will be here. Here at HZO, we are excited to be a part of an industry that always provides innovative and revolutionary products that will continue to define the future of waterproofing electronic devices. For more information on HZO and our revolutionary waterproofing technology, please message us.

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What is Corrosion & Does It Ruin Electronics? How to Remove It?

October 15, 2020 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities



Imagine the following scenario: You are washing the dishes, listening to music on your smartphone when suddenly the unthinkable happens – the phone that was nestled safely in your shirt pocket tumbles out and into a sink full of soapy water and dirty dishes. You manage to frantically retrieve your precious phone from its watery grave, dry it off, and find that somehow it is still working! It’s a miracle! You acted fast to save your phone, and you didn’t even need a bag of rice! All is well in the world of potentially water-damaged electronics… until two days later, when, for no apparent reason, your phone now doesn’t work, it short-circuited. Your miracle has turned into a nightmare. Water damage: 1. You: 0.


a phone dropped in water and being ruined by corrosion
The Meaning of Corrosion and What Causes It

We’ve discussed the science behind circuit board corrosion and how to prevent water damage with different conformal coatings, discussing why electronics and water don’t mix. One of the reasons we mentioned is the hidden and most puzzling cause of water damage: corrosion. Corrosion is the gradual breakdown of material, usually metal, by a chemical reaction with its environment. The most common form of corrosion occurs when you combine metal with water and oxygen, creating iron oxide (more commonly known as rust). This reaction occurs when you combine these elements for an extended period.

Does Corrosion Ruin Electronics?

There is no specific time frame in which deterioration happens; an electronic device can begin corroding a few hours after the initial water damage incident, or it can last days unaffected before showing any signs of a problem. How fast it sets in depends on humidity levels, the severity of the water damage, how long the device was submerged, and even how it is made. If the device was made to prevent water damage, exposing it to water won’t affect it. These factors significantly affect the time frame under consideration for a water-damaged device.

Learn More About Corrosion Protection


How to Remove Corrosion from Electronics 

You must be very careful when cleaning up corroded electronics after water damage. You can damage the device further if you don’t know what you are doing, and you could also potentially injure yourself. Remember: devices and liquid generally don’t mix, so any time you apply cleaning solutions to a device, you must be cautious. The average consumer should never attempt to repair a device without professional assistance. The best rule to remember is to take it to a professional when in doubt! With that being said, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when dealing with deterioration and devices with water damage:

  • To clean a device post-water damage, always remove any batteries,  power connectors, or power supplies first. This not only prevents harm to you but also prevents any short-circuiting to the device. Doing this will expose extra connectors that may already have corroded, so exercise caution.
  • Look for any white or green “crusty” areas on the device, especially on the battery connectors, charging ports, circuit boards, logic boards, SIM card connectors, or any other major metal connectors on the device.
  • Use cotton swabs and a cleaning solution such as isopropyl alcohol, baking soda, water, or even vinegar to clean it. Gently apply the solution to the affected area and wipe back and forth until the corrosion is removed. Leave some solution on the corroded area and wipe it off later.
  • Dry your electronic device with a soft cloth or a hair dryer in a cool setting – do not use heat to dry out your device. Ensure your device is dried extremely well before attempting to replace the battery and turn the device on. Any water left in the device could cause additional water damage.


Remember that whenever you are dealing with a water-damaged device, there is no guaranteed way to fix it once it has been subjected to water or already has deterioration issues. You can take steps to improve your chances of repairing it, but in the end, you have to cross your fingers and hope for the best.


circuit board contamination


If you want to learn more about waterproof electronic devices and the technology that goes into them, then visit our website! We provide protective coatings to eliminate corrosion from happening in the first place. Contact us today to waterproof your new electronic device, or dig deeper to learn how we protect electronics from corrosion.

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Conformal Coating Thermal Conductivity - Prevent Overheating

October 2, 2020 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties


Design engineers have more to worry about these days than ever before. The demand for smaller electronic devices with more capabilities is exponentially growing, causing engineering challenges also to grow. More integrated circuits, resistors, diodes, transistors, and capacitors must be packed into a shrinking space, increasing a device’s susceptibility to overheating due to a reduction in thermal flow.

Done improperly, poor design and engineering can directly cause overheating, leading to decreased reliability, premature failure, and damages resulting in avoidable cost and brand damage. All electronic devices and circuitry generate excess heat as current flows through a circuit, causing the need for better thermal management. Each component has a rated maximum operating temperature, and heat dissipation is critical to avoid overheating and exceeding the temperature limit.


How is Heat Removed from Electronics?

Heat must be dissipated to ensure that devices remain safe, reliable, and perform as intended. This process can happen through many different methods, including:

  1. Convection: a transference of heat through moving fluids
  2. Conduction: a process in which heat dissipates throughout a material
  3. Radiation: allowing heat to dissipate through electromagnetic waves


Mechanism Definition heat dissipation path percentage of heat


Heat transfer between objects that are in physical contact. External pins of component to the printed wiring board. Then, convection into the atmosphere. ~80%
Convection Heat transfer between an object and its environment due to fluid motion (liquid or gas). Top surface and sides of the package into the atmosphere. ~10%
Radiation Heat transfer through the emission of electromagnetic waves. Radiative heat from the package surface area. Low contribution to total heat dissipation unless package surface area is relatively large. ~10%


*Estimates For A 352-pin BGA Type Component


Conformal Coating Thermal Conductivity

In many electronic designs, ~80% of heat energy is dissipated through conduction to some form of a heat sink designed to dissipate heat by spreading it over a larger surface area, removing the heat to the atmosphere through convection.

The heat flow between a component and ambient air is modeled as a series of resistances to heat flow. The sum of these is the total thermal resistance (°C/W). The goal here is high surface area in contact with air and a material with high thermal conductivity.

That being said, common heat sink materials are materials with high thermal conductivities:

Material thermal conductivity (W/mk)
Aluminum Alloy 1050 229
Aluminum Alloy 6061 166
Aluminum Alloy 6063 201
Copper 400




Conformal Coatings and Heat Dissipation: Considerable Challenges


Overheating is not the only reliability challenge for design engineers. Environmental constituents such as corrosives threaten reliable printed circuit board (PCB) performance. Engineers increasingly incorporate conformal coatings into their designs as devices shrink instead of enclosures and seals, which can consume precious real estate in miniaturized devices.

These polymeric films are used as a barrier layer to contaminants, corrosives, solvents, and solid materials commonly found in operating environments. Materials such as acrylics, silicones, epoxies, polyurethanes, and Parylene can be applied to substrates, enhancing electronic reliability in the harsh environments that next-generation electronics face today.

These protective coatings can outperform seals and enclosures when it comes to reliability. The electrically insulative properties of conformal coatings, such as dielectric strength, prove useful here; spacing between conductors can also be reduced, allowing for the integration of more electronic components.

Learn more about the dielectric constant of insulator materials in our blog.

Unfortunately, traditional conformal coatings have low thermal conductivity, generally between 0.125 and 0.335 in W/mK. As the chart above indicates, these values are hundreds to thousands of times lower than those for ceramics or metals. As such, conformal coatings are good heat barriers, and when used in thick layers, they can interfere with the heat transfer path, impeding heat dissipation.

Although formulating a coating with metal or inorganic fillers can increase thermal conductivity, the compositions containing metal fillers will also become electrically conductive, meaning they are no longer suitable for electronic applications requiring electrical isolation.

This presents a paradox to design engineers. There is a need for highly thermally conductive polymers capable of transferring heat that are also electrically insulative, particularly for high-density microelectronics.

For conformal coatings, if thermal conductance is a requirement, design engineers can take either or both of two approaches:

  • Employing a coating filled with as much thermally conductive filler as possible.
  • Integrating the thinnest coating possible, as thermal conduction is inversely proportional to thickness.

Although using a filler can lead to a gain in thermal conductivity, ironically, the benefit is offset by a thicker coating that is challenging to apply. The coating’s electrically insulating properties may be affected as well. 


Read more about waterproof design.


Parylene Conformal Coatings for Heat Dissipation


Regarding reliability, you shouldn’t have to choose between bulkier, less reliable barrier protection and susceptibility to overheating. Evaluating conformal coatings for heat dissipation entails several considerations: thermal conductivity, emissivity (the surface of a material’s effectiveness in emitting energy as thermal radiation), film uniformity, adhesion to the substrate, and film thickness.

However, thermal conductivity and film thickness are the most critical parameters for heat dissipation when selecting a conformal coating. This is where Parylene is a distinctive choice.


Coating thermal conductivity (W/mk) film thickness (um)
Desired High Low
Parylene N 0.13 2-50
Parylene C 0.08 2-40
Acrylic 0.13-0.25 30-130
Epoxy 0.17-0.21 30-130
Silicone 0.15-0.31 50-210
Urethane 0.21 30-130


Other conformal coating materials are typically applied at a thickness range of 50 to 250 microns. Parylene can be applied at a fraction of the thickness, ranging as low as 2 microns. For context, this is less than the width of a strand of human hair.  


Parylene Performance at Scale


At HZO, we provide Parylene services to industries where device overheating is a serious concern. But when it comes to conformal coatings, Parylene is not just a superior choice for heat dissipation. It exhibits many excellent properties that bolster device reliability, such as chemical resistance and the ability to remain reliable throughout a wide temperature range.

More information on parylene coating costs

Each Parylene type has distinct characteristics, so there is a Parylene for virtually every application. For example, Parylene C provides the best corrosion resistance of all the conformal coating polymers. My colleague, Dr. Sean Clancy, delivered an excellent webinar on Parylene’s corrosion resistance, which I encourage you to view. You can also download HZO’s Parylene datasheet to learn more about Parylene’s beneficial properties.

Something my team is incredibly proud of is our customer service. We have formed meaningful partnerships over the years, providing masking and demasking recommendations, offering DFX guidance, and working with our customers to integrate our coating process into many points of their production.

If you are interested in protection for your project and need to understand the alternatives better or are simply curious to learn how leading OEMs are designing the next generation of mobile, wearable, edge, and general electronic devices, reach out to us today or fill out contact or quote form to get started. We are not simply a job shop but a team of dedicated engineers who understand your design challenges. 

You do not have to settle regarding heat dissipation or electronic protection. Your device is in good hands when you work with HZO.

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Parylene Optical Properties - UV Light Interactions, Refractive Index

September 3, 2020 / by Dr. Sean Clancy posted in Parylene, Protection Capabilities, Coating Properties



With Parylene, you always have a clear and accurate view due to its optical properties. Although the Parylene deposition process begins with white to off-white dimer powder, the result is a transparent coating that retains clarity and color throughout your product’s lifecycle.

Across myriad industries, Parylene types C, Parylene N, and F are used when optical qualities are critical to product applications. Optical lenses, fiber optic components, electro-optical components, and optical sensors are frequently coated with this thin polymeric film for protection from the environment.

Learn more about what Parylene coating is used for


Optical Applications

Parylene has excellent transmission and, conversely, low optical absorption in the visible and near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, which ensures desirable performance in these regions.

Parylene’s thin, transparent protection is particularly beneficial for light-emitting devices, as the colors of the emitted light and device efficiency are unaffected. Therefore, Parylene proves useful for optical devices, cameras, and LED lights exposed to challenging outdoor environments.

Read about Parylene masking and Parylene removal


Refractive Index

Refractive indices are an important consideration in many optical applications. These describe how much light changes in direction as it passes from one medium into another. Additionally, refractive indices help determine the dispersive power of prisms and the focusing power of lenses.

Specifically, the refractive index is the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum compared to the speed of light in a material. Parylene N has a refractive index of 1.66, meaning that the speed of light in this Parylene type is 1.66 times slower than light in a vacuum.

Read about Parylene chemical resistance and Parylene biocompatibility.


HZO PRO750 Parylene Coating Equipment

With Parylene conformal coatings, you always have a clear and accurate view.

UV Light Interactions

Extended UV exposure in air degrades Parylene N, C, D, and after a more extended period, VT-4. If direct sunlight exposure is limited, the effects of the UV are not as detrimental. Both UV and oxygen must be present to raise any significant issues.

Although VT-4 is better than C and N in this regard, dimer material can cost three to five times more than C. Similarly, AF-4 is much more UV resistant than VT-4, but this dimer can cost up to 20 times more than C, with significantly more limited suppliers and availability.


Read Dr. Clancy’s blog posts on Parylene thickness and Parylene temperature range


The Big Picture

Apart from the detrimental UV light interactions exhibited with the non-fluorinated types, Parylene films provide excellent optical properties and enhance the reliability of mission-critical applications, such as aerospace, scientific, and telecommunication components and integrated circuits. If your project specifications call for products that can retain color and clarity, Parylene is an excellent option.

Do you need help from an expert in selecting a polymer coating for your next project? We can assist with scalable Parylene coating equipment. Reach out to our team today for a consultation.


Understand More About Parylene Coating Cost

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Solving Weather & Water Challenges For Smart Farms

May 12, 2020 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Parylene, Protection Capabilities, Thin Film Applications, Value of Coatings



It’s a Small World, After All

The world’s population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, an unprecedented increase approaching fast. This looming surge will compound our current problem – more mouths to feed on a densely packed planet that isn’t growing any larger.

Even as available agricultural land shrinks and natural resources become more depleted, farmers must produce 70% more food by 2050.

Necessity is the mother of invention, especially when it comes to farming. After all, if the agricultural industry doesn’t adapt, we don’t eat. The task at hand for farmers is to produce more food with more precision while working with less.


IoT in Smart Farming: Connecting Dots

To adjust to these changes, the industry has introduced technology to agriculture, a practice known as smart farming. Intelligent devices collect and process information about emerging issues and environmental changes, enabling farmers to respond more quickly. Pulling this system together is the Internet of Things, connecting smart machines and integrated sensors to produce data-driven, data-enabled processes.

Information about the fertility of the soil, crop growth, weather conditions, and other variables can be used to track business status, equipment efficiency, and employee performance, offering valuable insights that can be used to optimize agricultural performance. As a result, work, waste, and risk are reduced, while cost management and capabilities are enhanced.


Hardware Security Implications in Smart Agriculture Pose Problems

While agricultural devices hold promise, no matter how smart the software may be, the success of the smart farming system is contingent upon how physically secure the hardware is. This is problematic for several reasons:

  • Without adequate protection, sensors can easily be damaged by wear and tear caused by constant exposure to drops, falls, heavy winds, or pounding rain.
  • Typical weather conditions, such as high temperatures, pollutants, condensation, and humidity, can cause immediate failure by a short circuit or a long, unpredictable shutdown due to corrosion.
  • To operate reliably, farm managers need to access information consistently. A single sensor failure could lead to a catastrophic period of downtime at worst. At best, failing devices create the need for continuous maintenance and replacement.
one phone underwater that is still working because of HZO protection and another that is dead because of water damage


Protecting Smart Farming Equipment Has Never Been This Important

The onus falls on the agricultural industry to achieve more precision and a higher level of performance as it struggles to meet the demands of our population. To farmers, physically robust hardware is more important than ever.

Weather stations located across fields offer insight into climate conditions, the optimal choice of crops, and potential actions that, when taken, could improve farming capacity. Meanwhile, sensors attached to cattle are helping farmers understand changes in health and activity levels for each animal and, collectively, the status of the entire herd.

Crop management devices produce data about crop health, precipitation, and temperature fluctuations, allowing farmers to mitigate risk and increase yield proactively. This kind of cognizance is gleaned from smart farming sensors, provided these devices can predictably perform in an unpredictable environment.


Overcoming Challenges to Device Security In Smart Farming with Parylene Thin-Film Coatings

Considered a “best-in-class” conformal coating in electronic, industrial, medical, and engineering industries, Parylene is a thin-film electronic protection solution that can address agricultural challenges. Applied with a vacuum deposition technique, Parylene coatings achieve dependable coverage free from imperfections like cracks or voids. The coating uniformly conforms to device topography, completely penetrating spaces as narrow as <0.01 mm.

Additionally, Parylene has good heat endurance. For example, Parylene C can offer durable environmental protection for ten years at 80°C. Providing mission-critical protection at thicknesses on the micron level, Parylene can endure temperatures and weather conditions that traditionally have been hurdles for smart farming devices.

If you have been tasked with designing or manufacturing smart farming devices that the industry can depend on, Parylene is an excellent way to achieve critical reliability. Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about our Parylene solution.

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Designing a Waterproof Product With IP Ratings

March 25, 2020 / by Mallory McGuinness-Hickey posted in Protection Capabilities


The Big Picture: Manufacturers determine IP ratings, not an impartial group. Although these rating systems are useful for comparison purposes, they are not the panacea for rating electronic waterproof design.


If you are designing a waterproof product and using IP ratings as a measuring stick, you may want to reconsider. When people think about IP ratings, what they normally understand as “waterproof” are IPX5, IPX6, IPX7, and IPX8. However, this is a misrepresentation. So why do we use IP ratings to measure the amount of liquid protection a device has?

Do IP Standards Measure Liquid Protection, or Are They Just a Marketing Measure?

Consumers have been demanding waterproof electronics for a while now, and in the past, manufacturing marketing teams were happy to deliver what they didn’t necessarily have. Marketing teams, particularly for watches, showcased the word “waterproof” in their messaging. But these watches couldn’t stand up to liquid submersion.

one phone underwater that is still working because of HZO protection and another that is dead because of water damage

In an attempt to clear the confusion, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) replaced the word “waterproof” with “water-resistant.” This happened in 1990 when ISO issued the standard ISO 2281 for water-resistant products.

Nevertheless, a few years ago, commercials appeared with people using electronics in the shower, swimming with them in the pool, and dropping devices in the water – electronics, like smartphones, which, again, weren’t waterproof.  

However, these commercials naturally led to the belief that the advertised products were, in fact, waterproof. However, customers described dropping so-called “waterproof” electronics for as little as 5 seconds, only to witness instant device destruction. The icing on the cake was that many manufacturers refused to mitigate liquid damage in their warranties.  

As you might have imagined, lawsuits ensuedISO tried to clarify again when they replaced the ISO 2281 standard with ISO 22810 to update the content in 2010. 

Now, the term “water-resistant” describes products and the testing protocols created by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and ISO. Let’s look at some of those protocols now to understand how “waterproof” IP-rated devices are. 

Learn more about NEMA vs IP ratings


What’s the Equivalent of IP Rated?

The first thing to know about IP testing protocols is that testing uses pure water only in laboratory conditions while the device is powered off.

Additionally, IP ratings only test for very specific environments.


IP Ratings only test for very specific environments

  • Relative humidity range – 20% to 75%  
  • Air pressure range – 86 KPa to 106 KPa 
  • Test samples should be completely new and clean. 
  • Recommended temperature range – 15 C to 35 C 

After testing, manufacturers inspect their devices’ enclosures for water ingress. Some water can even enter an enclosure and pass IP testing – under the condition that the exposure to water does not interfere with device operation or jeopardize user safety.


Do IP Standards Hold Up To Real Life?

Below are the requisites manufacturers must meet to deem a device “IP protected.”

The IPX6 standard test confirms that a device has suitable protection against heavy seas or powerful jets of water.

The IPX7 test attempts to determine whether electronic enclosures can provide enough protection from temporary immersion in water. A device will be immersed in water for a half-hour. The temperature of the product and the water cannot vary more than 5 C.

IPX8 tests for continuous immersion are completely subject to the manufacturer’s requisites. At the very least, they should be more severe than IPX7 conditions. 


So, if you submerge a product from the box into 1 meter of fresh water inside a laboratory, your bases are covered. But what happens when you step outside the lab?

Learn about other standards, like Mil-i-46058c and UL94 ratings

The IP Rating System Won’t Help When Life Happens


There are a few glaring problems when it comes to calling an IP-rated device “waterproof” in real-life scenarios:

  • Device pressure is affected by how it enters the water for IPX7 and IPX8 tests. Fluctuations in pressure can affect the depth and time a product can be submerged in water.
  • Temperatures in bathrooms, bathtubs, steam rooms, or saunas will probably exceed the specific temperature range that manufacturers test for, making the physical seals meant to protect electronics less efficient at protecting the device.
  • The tests use fresh water. Freshwater starkly contrasts the water that devices typically encounter, like tap water, swimming pools, saltwater, bathtubs, or toilets.
  • Chemicals commonly used, like perfumes, oils, hair dyes, and solvents, can eat away at the mechanical parts and seals protecting a product, dragging the water-resistance level down.
  • The fact that a device can be placed under 1 meter of water is great, but in the real world, products will probably fall to the bottom, voiding the guarantee that water will not ingress.
  • The devices don’t have to be on during testing – if an electronic device is powered on underwater and is running programs, its internal temperature and pressure will increase, negatively affecting the depth of water the product can withstand. 

Learn about hydrophilic coatings.


How to Design a Truly Waterproof Electronic Device

If you want a waterproof (not “water-resistant”) device, you need Parylene conformal coating. As we explained above, commonly used mechanical seals don’t cut it.  

Parylene is a polymer that coats the circuit boards powering your devices from the inside out. It doesn’t add thickness or bulk to devices that other conformal coatings do, and our Parylene can nullify water damage and last up to 20 years.  You can learn more about Parylene and our Parylene coating process here. 

Learn more about our coatings.

Not All Devices HAVE to be Completely Waterproof

 Although the IP rating standards are nebulous, they’re still useful for comparison, and many manufacturers require IP testing for devices that aren’t completely mission-critical. That’s why plasma-based nano coatings are sought out by engineers looking for affordable, ultra-thin conformal coating –  they can meet any IP rating reliably and with scale.  

But we digress. So, is IP57 waterproof? The answer is no; it is just water-resistant. When you consider your mission-critical waterproof electronic design, remember that you aren’t building products for a lab; you’re building products for life on life’s terms.   

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Don't Be Left in the Dark: Brief History of Light Emission Devices

April 28, 2015 / by Ryan Moore posted in Protection Capabilities, Thin Film Applications


One of the best things about working for a company like HZO is the opportunity to be exposed to an extremely wide variety of technologies (apart from our own). Our seasoned technicians test and validate new products daily, from minuscule medical sensors to large electronic display boards. The technology driving these amazing devices is astounding. We could go on and on about the cool and fascinating technology that passes through an HZO production floor, but today we wanted to focus on one; the “Light Emitting Diode” or LED.

Behind most innovative technologies is an interesting story. Years and even centuries of trying, testing, and arduous development go into every bit of technology we now take for granted. The same is true of the “LED.” LED bulbs and displays have been in the mainstream for almost a decade now and are continuing to saturate the lighting world, but instead of focusing on the future applications for the technology, let’s review its history:

  • 1907 – An Englishman named Henry Joseph Round discovers that inorganic materials (specifically, raw silicon carbide) can light up when an electric current is applied.
  • 1921 – The Russian physicist Oleg Losev again observes the “Round effect” of light emission. In the preceding years, from 1924 to 1930, he published 16 papers outlining the LED and its applications.
  • 1935 – French Physicist Georges Destriau discovers light emission in zinc sulfide. Today Destriau is credited as the inventor of electroluminescence.
  • 1951 – The development of a transistor marks a scientific step forward in semiconductor physics.
  • 1962 – American Dr. Nick Holonyak Jr. develops the first visible red LED. This marked the beginning of the industrially-produced LED.
  • 1968 – The Monsanto Company produces visible red LED’s on a massive scale and becomes the first to produce affordable LEDs.
  • 1971 – Due to the development of new semiconductor materials, LEDs are produced in new colors: green, orange, and yellow. The LED’s performance and effectiveness continue to improve.
  • 1993 – Shuji Nakamura develops the first brilliant blue LED, which would be critical in developing the white LED. Nakamura (along with Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano) would win the 2014 Noble Prize in Physics for this discovery.
  • 1995 – The first LED with white light from luminescence conversion is presented and launched on the market two years later.
  • 2006 – The first light-emitting diodes with 100 lumens per watt are produced.
  • 2010 – LEDs of multiple colors are being mass-produced with luminous efficacy of 250+ lumens.

Only a century ago, people accustomed to lighting candles and cleaning kerosene lamps stood in awe at the reliable glow of the incandescent lamps developed by Thomas Edison and his contemporaries in the late 1880s and early 90s. Now all we have to do is turn on our oversized TVs, glance at an electronic billboard driving down the freeway, or check the electronic scoreboard at a ball game to see what light has become. LEDs are everywhere, and we see them incorporated more into outdoor signage and advertisements. HZO is excited about this. These LED boards are exposed to everything Mother Nature can throw at them, and unless they are protected from the elements, the vital electronics will inevitably fail. HZO’s thin film barrier is highly reliable and able to extend the life of electronics thanks to our ability to meet the unique requirements of our customers. HZO goes well beyond water protection: It exceeds industry standards for salt, humidity, and temperature testing. As well as protecting against dust and debris, HZO coatings are transparent. So when protecting massive yet intricate LED boards, don’t settle for anything but the best.



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Military Standards for Safeguarding Printed Circuit Assemblies

January 30, 2015 / by Ryan Moore posted in Protection Capabilities


For certain service providers interested in working with aerospace companies or the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), it is necessary to achieve certain military standards, also referred to as MIL-STD or MIL-SPEC. So, what exactly is a MIL-SPEC? These specifications define and standardize the technical requirements for materials that the DOD may purchase. The standards were established starting back in the 1960s to ensure reliability, maintainability, and to prequalify suppliers, thus lessening urgent supply chain demands.


In HZO’s business of protecting electronics from environmental contamination, the MIL-SPEC we keep a close eye on is MIL-I-46058C, which is the specification that lists the technical criteria for conformal coatings along with the requisite quality assurance tests and their testing protocol. The HZO material is based on para-xylylene, a polymer serving as an insulator and protective barrier to safeguard printed circuit assemblies.

Although MIL-I-46058C was deemed inactive for new designs, this requires more explanation. Isn’t that always the case? MIL-I-46058C does not detail a workmanship standard, nor is it a definition of quality. Rather, the spec ensures the tested material is suitable as a conformal coating for electronic assemblies. Even though deemed inactive, MIL-I-46058C remains the defining standard for companies who supply conformal coatings for two important reasons: it is the only published standard that includes a qualified product list used by the DOD, and the standard also requires certification by an independent third party.

Like all things, MIL-SPEC is one part of the equation. Choosing a protective barrier starts by defining requirements, including the environments to which the electronic assembly will be subjected. That’s the best way to keep electronics safe from damage.


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Hydrophilic vs Hydrophobic: What's The Difference?

November 14, 2012 / by Ryan Moore posted in Protection Capabilities


Hydrophilic vs. Hydrophobic

Today’s technical terminology can be dizzying. On an average day here at HZO you hear people throw around words like nanotechnology and vapor deposition as casually as if they were talking about their neighbor’s cat.

Today, we will decipher a few of these words and talk more about what two of these terms, in particular, “hydrophilic” and “hydrophobic,” actually mean. Along the way, we will clarify how the two are similar and different and show which one applies to our HZO technology.

Curious? Keep on reading.


What Does Hydrophilic Mean?

Hydrophilic, defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “of, relating to, or having a strong affinity for water.” This essentially means the ability to mix well, dissolve, or be attracted to water.


What does Hydrophobic Mean?

Hydrophobic, defined by the same dictionary, is defined as “resistant to or avoiding wetting.” Practically the opposite of hydrophilic!


What’s the difference between the two?

According to these straight definitions, we can see that these two terms are opposites. Something defined as hydrophilic is attracted to water, while something hydrophobic resists water. This means when hydrophobic items come in contact with liquids, water is encouraged to bead up and roll off the surface- almost pushing it away as a magnet pushes away metal objects.

A great example of something that is hydrophilic is self-cleaning glass. This special glass has been engineered and coated with a nano-sized, thin film. Instead of allowing water to form into droplets that bead up and roll off the glass, this cool nanotechnology helps tiny water molecules glide over the surface in a sheet, washing dirt or other debris away.



For an example of a hydrophobic substance, look no further than HZO technology. Our thin-film nano-coating encourages water and other liquids to bead up and roll off whatever it is applied to, be it a cell phone, tablet, or tiny circuit board. Although this isn’t the main property of our different coatings (we would rather brag about the actual physical barrier it creates between liquids and the important electronic components being coated), the hydrophobic properties are an added bonus.

Which coating is better? Well, within the electronics industry, we want to keep water away from the important electrical components inside of devices. A coating that causes water to bead up and roll away will keep electronics alive and well long after contact with water – so the hydrophobic coating wins this time.

These days there are a lot of other nano-coating products out there that claim hydrophobicity yet don’t measure up. Not HZO.


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