The follow are factor to consider when trying to avoid breakage: 1) Curing – Partially cured mask will have more of a tendency to break or leave residue. 2) Temperature and duration in extreme heat – Mask is designed for wave soldering, which is about a second of exposure to molten solder temperatures (generally 550°-650°F). If the mask is sent through a reflow oven the duration is much longer, which can lead to more mask brittleness. If the mask is exposed to high-temperature solder (e.g. silver), it can also lead to more brittleness. 3) Application method – When hand applying, we recommend holding the bottle at about a 60° angle, rather than upright at 90°. That tends to apply the material as a thick blanket over the areas to be masked. When the bottle is held at 90°, the mask is generally applied thinner, and is forced through holes and around components. Those thin areas are more likely to become brittle and stay behind, and mask pushed into holes and around components is harder to remove, so more likely to break.
No, not if your concern is only reliability problems from ionic contamination. No-clean flux contains minimal ionic material that is fully consumed when the flux is activated, or in other words, brought to soldering temperature. If all of the flux isn’t activated, like when you apply a lot of flux but only solder a small area, you still need to clean the PCB. If you are applying conformal coating, you should remove all flux residues, regardless of the type of flux. Most people understand that when painting something, the surface must be prepared so it is absolutely clean. Otherwise, the paint will quickly lift off the surface and peel off. The same logic applies to conformal coating, even when the contamination is from no-clean flux.