Ionic Contamination Testing Services

An employee places circuit board in an ionic cleaning machine

Ionic contamination poses a significant risk to the integrity and performance of printed circuit board (PCB) assemblies. This type of contamination occurs when sensitive conductive devices, such as PCBs, are exposed to various contaminants during fabrication or assembly processes. Common culprits include salt, acids, sulfates, residual substances from human handling, and flux activators.

When these contaminants come into contact with the surface of the conductive material, they leave behind ionic residues that can profoundly impact conductivity. The presence of ions alters the charge of the material, potentially leading to detrimental effects.

To mitigate the risks associated with ionic contamination, it is crucial to thoroughly remove contaminants like flux residue, human oils, dust, or moisture. Failure to do so can result in corrosion, electromechanical migration, parasitic leakages, and complications during PCB rework.

Plasma Ruggedized Solutions offers ionic testing to check for conductive contamination on the surface of PCBs prior to coating. This ionic testing will help determine an assembly’s likelihood for electrical or physical failure, and the potential for loss of coating adhesion. Our ionic testing service is a fast, efficient, low-cost method of ensuring the quality of the end product you receive. Ionic contamination testing is performed to industry standards for cleanliness and our commitment to quality assurance.

Contact Plasma Ruggedized Solutions today to discuss our ionic contamination testing services with a PRS expert!Contact Us

Testing for Ionic Cleanliness Prevents Issues with Conformal Coatings and PCB Assembly Function

There is a wide variety of flux types used for the soldering process within the industry, and each process can leave its own unique contaminants behind. The three ionic soldering flux types include:

  • Resin (Rosin) Flux: residues can be weakly corrosive or non-corrosive
  • Organic Flux: residues are weakly corrosive or non-corrosive
  • Inorganic flux: residues are strongly corrosive

Plasma Ionic Contamination Testing Process

Ionic contaminants have the greatest propensity to cause failures over time The PCB ionic contamination test is conducted using a contaminometer or omegameter to calculate ionic cleanliness. Measurements are completed by releasing the ions into an extraction liquid and calculating the ionic content in equivalent to sodium chloride. Our experienced team applies a ROSE (Resistivity Of Solvent Extract) testing method that measures bulk ions per square inch by dipping a PCB into a non-corrosive solvent.

Benefits of Ionic Contamination Testing

The overall cleanliness of an assembly prior to coating is very important. While conformal coatings are meant to be filters against contamination, they do not eliminate contaminants that are still present on a PCB when the coating is applied. If contaminants exist on a PCB assembly surface, they can continue to cause damage to the surface after the coating has been applied. Ionic contamination testing and cleaning successfully removes almost all other non-ionic contaminants. A PCB ionic contamination test detects ionic residues that remain from the manufacturing and soldering process and is often a requirement to ensure ionic cleanliness prior to applying the conformal coating to printed circuit boards. Ionic contamination testing successfully removes most non-ionic contaminants in prior to the conformal coating process. Ionic testing is an efficient, inexpensive method of ensuring the level of cleanliness on a PCB and can typically be applied in just 1 day.

Ionic Contamination Testing Across Multiple Industries

Ionic contamination testing is ideal for testing circuit board assemblies and other components that rely on safe and secure data storage. Our ionic testing services are ideal for high-level, non-standard products and assemblies. While our specialized testing services are not limited to a specific industry, frequent industries served include:

Why Choose Plasma For Ionic Contamination Testing

At Plasma Ruggedized Solutions, we take the necessary steps to ensure that our ionic contamination testing provides a safe, cost-effective and efficient testing solution for your PCBs and additional products. Our ROSE (Resistivity Of Solvent Extract) testing procedures meet or exceed all applicable industry standards for cleanliness, including MILC-28809, IPC 600, IPC 610. We can typically complete the ionic contaminant testing process on the same day as the PCB arrives or within a 1-day turn. Tests can be performed in-house at our state-of-the-art testing facility or made available to customers who wish to test the quality of the products they’re receiving from contract manufacturers. Additionally, our ionic contamination testing methods are 100% environmentally friendly.Request a Quote

Ensuring Ionic Cleanliness Using PCB Ionic Contamination Tests

Plasma Ruggedized Solutions uses resistance testing to determine the ionic contaminants present on circuit board assemblies and other components. This assures the highest possible quality of the products we receive for coating.

  • The ionic contamination testing is conducted to determine what method of cleaning would be best suited for the assemblies
  • An ionic cleaning service to complete the process.
  • After cleaning, we retest the components to verify success. Ionic testing can be conducted at various points in the conformal coating process as a quality control tool.

We are committed to providing the highest level of quality in the conformal coating industry and have established various quality assurance measures, including quality certifications and policies. 

Read more about our quality assurance for conformal coating and commitment to providing service that meets or exceeds our customers’ expectations. 

Ionic Contamination Testing Before Conformal Coating Services

Plasma Ruggedized Solutions’ ionic contamination testing and cleaning services can detect and remove any number of common contaminants created in the manufacture of PCBs and other components. These include:

  • Chloride
  • Fluoride
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • and many others

Learn More About Ionic Testing and Our Other Plasma Solution Capabilities

Read our Whitepapers to learn more about our industry services and capabilities related to conformal coating and other plasma applications. We also have a number of case studies with examples of how we have resolved a multitude of challenges across a wide range of industries.

Contact Plasma Ruggedized Solutions today to discuss our ionic contamination testing services. In addition to ionic contamination testing, we also offer testing and laboratory services including environmental stress screening, Hi-Pot testing, cross sections and two-dimensional X-ray diffraction.Contact Us