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Printed Circuit Board Materials

The printed circuit board also means PCB is the most critical part of electronics and plays a crucial role in everything from mobile phones to military electronics. It is very important to understand the electrical necessities of given equipment when selecting board materials. As the increasing everyday electronics begin to rely on the printed circuit boards, simpler and more compact alternatives have been created, which also leads to the development of the board materials in PCB manufacturing or PCB prototype.


What are the materials in PCB manufacturing?

As we also know, PCB fabrication involves many steps, whether the depositing metal, etching, stripping, photoresist layers, silkscreen, solder mask, copper, or the substrate of boards, all of which need specific materials for given functions. And no matter these materials remain on the boards or are removed during the fabrication process, and all the PCB materials selected affect the manufacturability, reliability, and functionality of the final product.


The selection guide of PCB materials - Quality first

Quality is of utmost importance no matter for home electronics or industrial equipment when it comes to selecting PCB materials. Although the size of the PCB could be small or large, cheap or expensive, what matters most is that the product provides excellent performance in the full duration of its expected lifespan. Product reliability is what consumers are looking for when using PCB products.


The categorize of Substrates and laminates:

From the silkscreen, solder mask, copper, and substrate in materials generally made of PCBs, substrate offers the most possibility for customers’ choice.


The most popular PCB substrate would be FR-4, which is glass fabric-reinforced laminates, bonded with flame-resistant epoxy resin. Substrates usually used are comprised of epoxy resin and paper or glass weave, and ceramics is also a supplement to increase the dielectric constant. There is a wide variety of standard substrates to choose from when fabricating PCBs, such as FR-1 to FR-6, G-10 to G-11, GEM-1 to GEM-5, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), Aluminum or insulated metal substrate (IMS), Polyimide, Alumina, etc. Besides, laminates also can be made to meet customer requirements. The dielectric commonly used for laminates includes FR-1, FR-4, CEM-1, CEM-3, and Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).


The classification of base materials in PCB manufacturing

l Classification according to reinforced materials

1. Epoxy glass cloth (FR-4, FR-5)

2. Paper board (FR-1, FR-2, FR-3)

3. HDI board (RCC-Resin costed copper)

4. Composite board (CEM-1, CEM-3)

5. Special board (metal board, ceramic board, etc.)

l Classification according to types of resin

1. Polyester resin

2. Epoxy resin

3. PI resin (polyimide)

l Classification according to flame retardant properties

1. Flame retardant (UL94-V0, UL94-V1)

2. Non-flame retardant (UL94-HB level)


The above words do not list all possible materials of PCBs, but we still hope this article will help customers make the best selection for the PCB design. NextPCB, the leader in PCB fabrication, can offer flex, rigid, HDI, and other customized circuit board material options. If you are ready to have PCB design prototyped or PCB assembled, try the instant order on NextPCB website to upload the Gerber file and BOM list. Please feel free to contact us if you still have problems to select the material for your PCB design.



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