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Watertightness & Hermeticity

Hermeticity refers to the prevention of ingress by air or other gases, or the prevention of ingress by water or fluids (water tightness). Commonly, instruments which are exposed to saltwater, rain, dust or dirt for a limited time require some protection from them. Connectors often present potential entry points for these external agents. Ingress protection is therefore vital.

An international classification system defines the effectiveness of protection against infiltration for electrical equipment. The classification is represented by four characters - IP for Ingress Protection and two numerals. The first numeral (on a scale of 0-6) refers to protection against solid materials (including dust). The second numeral (0-9) represents protection against liquids.

Instruments in vacuum applications and pressurised vessels, exposed to sub-aquatic environments for long periods, or those which use gases require more stringent sealing. 

Technical Challenges

As the complexity of electrical instruments increases, requirements for hermeticity are becoming increasingly demanding.

Protection from water and dust is typically achieved with a combination of gaskets (o-rings) and mechanical design. Fixed sockets which require protection from the external environment are specifically designed to offer such protection.

In some situations, protection from the external environment should be provided when the plug and socket are mated and when the connectors are separated.

Protection from leakage of gases or air is commonly achieved by 'potting' - filling the remaining air space of an electrical assembly with a solid or gelatinous compound. Ensuring hermeticity requires rigorous testing. 

The Advantages of LEMO Solutions

underwater drone

LEMO's generations of expertise provides a broad range of potted connections for demanding environments. 

Among them are connector series and specific models which guarantee:

  • Mated and unmated IP68 safeguarding
  • Underwater connectors resistant up to 60 bar hydrostatic pressure
  • Vacuum tightness to < 10-7 mbar.l.s-1 
  • Operation within a wide temperature range
  • Suitability for numerous sterilisation cycles with autoclave
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