'); ?>

Back To Blog

A Guide to Electronics Material Solutions with Sur-Seal

post img

In the electronics market, the integrity of each product’s components is critical. Sur-Seal champions this principle, providing a wealth of material solutions tailored to sustain the durability and functionality of your electronic devices. 

Quick Links

  1. Adhesive Solutions for Electronic Applications
  2. Gasket Materials for Effective Sealing
  3. Heat Management in Electronics
  4. Electromagnetic Shielding Materials
  5. Acoustic Material Considerations
  6. Environmental Shielding for Electronics
  7. Deciding on the Right Materials
  8. Contact a Sur-Seal Expert

Using Acrylic & Rubber-Based Adhesives in Electronics

In the electronics industry, longevity is key. The adhesives that bind components are just as crucial as the high-quality materials they join. With several applications, selecting the ideal adhesive impacts both assembly processes and product life span. Rubber-based and acrylic-based adhesives stand out in the electronics sector, each with unique properties suited for specific scenarios.

Rubber-Based Adhesives: The Quick-Setting Solution

Rubber-based adhesives are the go-to for swift assembly needs. Here’s why they are often the first choice:

  • Immediate grip: Their high initial tack provides a strong grip from the moment of application, allowing for rapid progression in assembly lines.
  • Flexibility: The soft and malleable nature of rubber adhesives makes them ideal for components requiring a degree of movement or compression after bonding.
  • Gap-filling: These adhesives wet out surfaces and fill gaps effectively, compensating for any irregularities or imperfections in substrates.
  • Speed of use: Their quick adhesion reduces the need for holding or clamping, speeding up production.
  • Variability in cure rates: Rubber adhesives can be formulated to have various curing times tailored to different manufacturing speeds.
  • Broad substrate compatibility: They adhere well to various surfaces, including metals, plastics, and ceramics.

Imagine you’re assembling a handheld electronic device where internal components need temporary fixation before permanent setting. Rubber-based adhesives could hold the parts in position with enough strength to withstand pre-installation handling and positioning before following up with permanent fastenings.

Acrylic-Based Adhesives: The Enduring Performer

For scenarios demanding durability and environmental staying power, acrylic-based adhesives shine. They offer:

  • Long-term bonding: These adhesives are designed for applications where a permanent, strong bond is essential.
  • High-temperature resistance: Acrylic adhesives can withstand higher temperatures, making them suitable for devices that operate under heat stress.
  • Environmental resistance: Their robustness against moisture, UV, and chemicals makes them fit for outdoor or harsh condition usage.
  • Aging resistance: Acrylics maintain their bond strength and efficacy over time, resisting degradation.
  • Versatility in formulations: They can be engineered for specific needs, including varying levels of viscosity and curing times.
  • Non-yellowing: Many acrylic adhesives will not yellow over time, ensuring a clean appearance in visible applications.

Consider an LED light panel that must withstand fluctuating outdoor temperatures and exposure to sunlight. An acrylic-based adhesive would be the ideal choice for attaching components due to its capacity to maintain a reliable bond in harsh and changing environments.

Rubber-based adhesives are ideal for immediate, strong, and flexible bonding – perfect for quick fixes and components that require a temporary hold before final assembly – while acrylic-based adhesives are the go-to for enduring, heat-resistant, and environmentally stable applications, where a permanent bond is critical for product longevity.

Knowing the difference between rubber-based versus acrylic-based adhesives is critical in selecting your ideal application solution. Whether it’s the immediate stickiness and flexibility of rubber-based glues or the long-term resilience and environmental tolerance of acrylic-based options, the success of an electronic product may hinge on this choice. 

Have any questions about our adhesive services? Give us a call today at 513.574.8500 or contact us online!

Choosing the Right Compression Set Gaskets for Electronics

Selecting the ideal gasket material is as critical as the means of bonding product components. Gasket materials come with varying compression set levels, and it’s essential to match the material’s properties with your product’s requirements.

Low Compression Set Gaskets: The Resilient Choice

Materials with a low compression set rebound almost to their original form after being compressed. This characteristic is crucial for:

  • Constant use: Ideal for parts that undergo frequent access, like hatches or doors on electronic devices.
  • Durability: They withstand repeated cycles of opening and closing without losing effectiveness.
  • Sealing performance: Low compression set materials maintain a seal over time, even with regular interaction.
  • Adaptability: These gaskets adjust to variations in temperature and pressure without compromising their sealing capability.
  • Energy absorption: They can also serve as shock absorbers, protecting sensitive electronics from impacts.

Take, for instance, a battery compartment door on a remote control. A gasket made from low compression set material will ensure the door seals tightly each time it’s closed without becoming flattened over time.

High Compression Set Gaskets: The Permanent Seal

On the other hand, materials with a high compression set deform permanently under pressure and are best for:

  • Static seals: Suitable for areas where a seal is set once and not disturbed.
  • Environmental resistance: These materials often offer superior protection against weather, chemicals, and temperature extremes.
  • Internal support: They’re typically used inside electronic devices, where parts are fixed and not meant to be adjusted.
  • Complement to adhesives: High compression set gaskets can enhance the bond in glued assemblies.
  • Variety of applications: Their robust nature makes them versatile for indoor and outdoor electronics.

A high-compression set gasket is preferred for electronic casings requiring a one-time seal. It will conform to the space and create a lasting barrier against external elements.

Low-compression gaskets are ideal for applications that demand resilience and frequent usage, ensuring a reliable seal with each access. In contrast, high-compression gaskets excel in applications where a steadfast and enduring seal is essential, safeguarding against long-term wear and environmental pressures.

Understanding the level of compression set needed for your product ensures that you maintain its integrity and function. Selecting the wrong gasket material can lead to a compromised seal and potential product failure. This decision is a key factor in the longevity and reliability of your electronic devices. 

Optimizing Electronics with Open-Cell and Closed-Cell Foam Gaskets

Understanding the distinctions between open-cell and closed-cell foam is crucial when choosing gasket materials for electronic components.

Open-Cell Foam Gaskets: The Flexible Sealer

Open-cell foam, characterized by its interconnected cells, offers several advantages:

  •  Responsive compression: It has a low compression set, bouncing back even after repeated compressions.
  •  Environmental shielding: Perfect for keeping out dust and particulates, making it suitable for sensitive electronics.
  •  Adaptive flexibility: The material can conform to irregular surfaces or components, providing an excellent seal.
  •  Breathability: While it blocks particulates, it allows for air passage, preventing condensation.
  •  Vibration damping: It absorbs vibrations, safeguarding the components against mechanical shock.

Open-cell foam gaskets are ideal for applications like acoustic insulation in electronic devices where sound damping is required or enclosures that need to ‘breathe’ while filtering out environmental debris.

Closed-Cell Foam Gaskets: The Robust Protector

Closed-cell foam stands out with different attributes:

  •  Durable form: It maintains a high compression set, making it less likely to deform permanently under pressure.
  •  Moisture barrier: Its impenetrable cell structure provides excellent water resistance.
  •  Structural integrity: The rigidity of closed-cell foam lends itself to applications requiring strong, supportive gaskets.
  •  Thermal insulation: Additionally, it offers superior insulation against temperature extremes.
  •  Environmental resistance: Suitable for outdoor electronic applications where weatherproofing is critical.

Closed-cell foam is the go-to for sealing enclosures that must be waterproof or resistant to other liquids, such as outdoor electronic housings or devices exposed to harsh conditions.

Both foam material types are important in preventing environmental factors from affecting electronic products, yet their individual properties cater to very specific uses. 

Open-cell foam is the choice for applications requiring frequent access or cushioning, while closed-cell foam is the solution for permanent seals and robust protection.

Choosing between open-cell and closed-cell foam gaskets can directly impact the longevity and reliability of your electronic products. Select wisely to ensure your product performs optimally throughout its life cycle, free from unwanted interference.

Recommended Reading: 

Looking to get started with Sur-Seal’s foam services? Call us today at 513.574.8500 or contact us online to get started.

Materials for Effective Heat Management in Electronics

Heat management is a priority factor in the design and function of electronics. To prevent component failure due to overheating, selecting the appropriate thermal management materials is as critical as choosing the right gasket or adhesive.

The three predominant materials used for heat dissipation in electronic components are thermal grease, thermal pads, and thermal tape:

Thermal Grease:

  •  Highly efficient in heat conduction
  •  Simple to apply for seamless integration
  •  Cost-effective solution for thermal management

Thermal Pads:

  •    Provide consistent thermal conductivity
  •    Flexible, conforming to varied component surfaces
  •    Ideal for filling uneven gaps with high thermal demands

Thermal Tape:

  •    Excellent for secure component mounting
  •    Saves time in assembly with easy application
  •    Offers a balance of conductivity and adhesion

Understanding the distinctions and applications of these thermal materials is vital. While thermal tape is uniquely efficient for mounting applications, thermal grease, and pads are more directly comparable.

  • Thermal grease is preferred in budget-conscious electronics and intermittent-use devices like garden equipment (e.g., lawnmowers and chainsaws). It offers reliable heat dissipation without the risk of material breakdown over time, which is critical for devices that are not in constant operation.

For components that demand the highest level of heat conduction and integration flexibility, thermal grease is an efficient and economical choice.

  • For high-performance electronics that operate at elevated temperatures, such as smartphones and computers, thermal pads are the ideal choice. They deliver consistent heat transfer and remain stable within the device, outperforming grease in longevity and reliability for continuous-use products.

Thermal pads are superior to sustained, reliable heat management in high-performance devices.

  • Thermal tape, while less conductive than grease or pads, excels in light applications where components need to be mounted with precision and ease, such as in LED strips and mounted electronic fixtures. It combines moderate thermal conductivity with strong adhesive properties, perfect for devices with minimal heat emission.

When it comes to mounting and moderate heat dissipation needs with the added benefit of strong adhesion, thermal tape is the optimal selection.

Recommended Reading:

Materials for Electromagnetic Shielding in Electronics

Now that we’ve tackled thermal management, let’s guard against another type of disruption: electromagnetic interference (EMI) from various electronic devices. Proper shielding materials are essential for safeguarding your product against these electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs).

There are two main types of materials used for EMI shielding:

Blocking Materials:

  • Create an impenetrable shield against external EMFs
  • Function as a solid barrier, similar to an electromagnetic ‘wall’

Conductive Materials:

  • Rather than blocking, these materials reroute EMFs away from sensitive components
  • Typically utilized within a product’s design to lessen internal interference

Once you understand the material types, you can select the right one for your needs.

  • Blocking materials are vital for external EMF defense. A prime example is fabric-covered foam, incorporating open or closed-cell foam clad in a nylon or polyester fabric interwoven with conductive copper or silver threads. The fine mesh of the fabric effectively prevents EMF penetration. Metals like steel, copper, and aluminum also serve as robust blocking agents. A detailed guide on these metals is available for further reference.

Blocking materials are the go-to for absolute interference exclusion.

  • Conductive materials excel in internal EMI management. Commonly used ones include oriented wire, which connects points within a product to provide an electrical route for EMF redirection. Additionally, metal particle-filled silicones offer enhanced conductivity for premium applications, albeit at a higher cost due to the precious metals involved.

Conductive materials are best for managing and mitigating interference effects.

Each material type is tailored to specific shielding requirements. Selecting the correct EMI shielding is crucial for the reliability of your product, particularly in advanced electronics like military-grade communication devices.

Recommended Reading:

Acoustic Management Materials in Electronics

With EMI out of the way, attention shifts to acoustics — addressing how noise can impact the performance and customer satisfaction of electronic goods. From buzzing electronics to humming fans, noise can be a nuisance, but it’s manageable with the appropriate materials.

We categorize acoustic materials into four groups based on their function:

  1. Absorbing materials: These are designed to soak up sound waves, reducing noise leakage.
  2. Barrier materials: These deflect sound waves, preventing noise from passing through.
  3. Dampening materials: Applied directly to noise sources to reduce their emitted sound by increasing mass.
  4. Isolation materials: These separate the noise source from its mounting, acting as a buffer or gasket.

Key materials for mitigating noise and acoustic disturbances include: 

  • Open-cell foam stands out as a common choice for sound absorption. It’s a budget-friendly option doubling as a dust and debris barrier under compression. However, it’s worth noting that open-cell foam’s noise-canceling abilities are compromised in moist environments.
  • Nonwovens made from polyester, polypropylene, and cellulosic fibers present a versatile solution. They can withstand various environmental conditions and are suitable for indoor and outdoor electronics, offering sound-dampening properties.
  • Fiberglass deserves mention for its insulation properties, especially outdoors. Its fire resistance and durability make it a reliable choice under extreme conditions. But, due to its irritating fibers, it’s less suited for consumer-handled electronics.
  • Polyester
  • Polypropylene
  • Cellulosic fibers

Selecting the right acoustic material is crucial for user experience and functionality. It’s about balancing performance with user interaction, ensuring your electronic product runs quietly, safely, and effectively in its intended environment.

Recommended Reading:

Optimizing Electronics for Environmental Durability

Ensuring electronic devices are impervious to environmental conditions is pivotal. The very integrity and longevity of a product could be compromised by environmental elements unless adequately shielded with seals. 

The trio of environmental contaminants most detrimental to electronics includes:

  1. Moisture: A primary threat, capable of causing short circuits and corrosion.
  2. Dust: Can obstruct ventilation and cause overheating.
  3. Debris or dirt: Larger particles that may cause physical damage and blockage.

The selection of materials for environmental seals is tailored to combat these specific challenges:

  • For moisture: Open-cell foams are inadequate due to their absorbent nature. Instead, solid materials like neoprene or silicone offer robust moisture barriers, preventing water ingress.
  • Against dust & debris: Silicone sponges and open-cell foams are preferred as they allow airflow while their fine cellular structure prevents particle infiltration.

Additionally, thermal considerations are of primary concern. Material choices like rubber may degrade in high-temperature scenarios. In contrast, silicone exhibits resilience across a wide temperature range, making it suitable for electronics that will be exposed to various outdoor climates.

The risks of corrosion, malfunction, and wear are markedly reduced by safeguarding electronics from the triple threat of moisture, dust, and debris. It’s safe to say the correct choice of shielding materials is not a one-size-fits-all solution but a strategic decision based on specific environmental exposures and the electronic device’s operational demands.

Equipped with the right knowledge of protective materials, you can substantially enhance the durability and reliability of your electronic products.

Manufacturing High-Quality Electronics Through Informed Material Selection

In the electronics industry, the difference between mediocrity and excellence often lies in the details, including the materials chosen for product design and manufacturing. As innovators and producers, we aim to deliver top-tier products that resonate with our consumers.

This guide is your stepping stone toward achieving that goal. It is an excellent resource to help you navigate the complexities of the electronics market, ensuring your offerings are not just competitive but exemplary.

Considerations of adhesives, gaskets, thermal management, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, acoustics, and environmental protection are crucial to addressing potential challenges from a preventative standpoint. Whether your product line includes cutting-edge smartphones, high-performance computing devices, or specialized communication radios, your material decisions are pivotal.

Here are key critical questions to help guide your material selection:

  1. Will this material provide durable assembly integrity?
  2. Is this material optimized for sealing and protection?
  3. How effectively will it manage and dissipate heat?
  4. Can it safeguard against EMI disruptions?
  5. Does it minimize acoustic interference for optimal user experience?
  6. Will it withstand the rigors of the intended environmental conditions?
  7. Is this material choice cost-effective without compromising quality?

Armed with the insights from this guide, you’re well-equipped to confidently navigate the challenges and considerations necessary to craft electronics that are not just fit for purpose but are also enduring and reliable. Strong products are built on the foundation of carefully chosen materials, and this guide empowers you to choose the materials that align perfectly with your project’s needs and set the wheels in motion toward realizing products that not only meet but exceed your exacting standards.

Need Further Assistance?

Should you find yourself seeking further clarification or needing expert help navigating the subtleties of material selection for your electronics, Sur-Seal’s team of engineers and materials specialists is happy to assist you. 

Always happy to help and provide personalized assistance, our team is on standby, ensuring that your next project is well-supported with critical information and the hands-on expertise that can only come from those who know the intricacies of material science as it applies to your unique market and application. 

Go Back to the Top

  • Why Sur-Seal
  • Brands We Sell Directly To

    Sikorsky Sikorsky

    Our Key Materials Partners