Moisture Transport through Housing Materials Enclosing Critical Automotive Electronics

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Roman, Artur
Han, Bongtae
In automotive electronics, humidity-sensitive electronics are encapsulated by protective housings that are attached to the car body. Typical housing materials are comprised of polymer composites, through which moisture transport occurs. The objective of this paper is to provide a predictive capability for moisture transport through automotive housings enclosing a cavity with electronic modules. The temperature-dependent moisture properties including moisture diffusivity, solubility, and saturated concentration of three housing material candidates are characterized first. Then, the analogy between heat transfer and the mass transfer is implemented to model the moisture transport into the cavity enclosed by the housing materials. To cope with the transient boundary condition at the housing material and the cavity interface, the effective volume scheme is used, treating the cavity as an imaginary polymer with an extremely large diffusivity and “equivalent solubility.” The prediction is subsequently validated through an experimental setup designed to monitor the in-situ humidity condition inside the cavity sealed by the housing materials. The prediction and experimental results agree well with each other, which corroborates the validity of the FEA modeling and the measured moisture properties.