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PCB Insulation: Why Is It Important?

Simon / 2021-04-09

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As the world is getting completely digitalized, the technologies are also improving every day. One of the latest techs that is being used in many devices and gadgets is PCB. This PCB is printed circuit board and this board is able to generate a lot of heat when the electricity flows through the board. Hence, it is very important to have a proper insulation or else the heat can cause a huge problem to the PCB board. To know more about the PCB insulation and why it is important or how can you get one, read on. All the important details are discussed below.


pcb insulation


What is PCB Insulation?


First of all PCB is a printed circuit board which is a small square-shaped green piece made up of copper. It is found in most of the electronic devices, nowadays. This board helps in proper functioning of the electronic devices. As mentioned above, the insulation is very important. The printed circuit board insulation is a dielectric material which is used for separating as well as isolating the conducting layers and elements. This insulation can be of different materials.


Why PCB Insulation Is Important?


As you can see, PCB or printed circuit board is one of the most important parts of the electronic devices and gadgets these days. Most of the devices in your house come with this board in it. The printed circuit board allows the electronic devices to function properly and correctly. Without the presence of these boards, it is impossible to operate the phones, computers and televisions. In order to operate this board, electricity plays a vital role. Without it, the PCB will not be able to function properly.


The printed circuit board contains some copper wiring which are printed and everyone knows that copper is a natural conductor of heat and electricity. But these electrical components can get quite hazardous if they are not properly insulted or enclosed in a case which is non-conductive in nature. If not, then it can become quite hot. Thus, PCB insulation is very important in order to prevent the corrosion of the copper elements. The insulation is also important to reduce any kind of accidental contacts with the conductive material.


With the proper insulation, you can keep your printed circuit board from getting overheated. Overheating can cause severe damage and even bursting into flames. This can be quite dangerous and damaging for the board as well as the device. Some of the main objectives of insulation for printed circuit board are:


  • To minimize or even eliminate the interference of the signal between two adjacent layers

  • To aid the proper distribution of thermal while assembling

  • To maintain an adhesion during the cycling of assembly temperature

  • To aid in the signal as well as power integrity


In short, the insulation can help the printed circuit board assembly as well as operation. Sometimes multiple layers are used for insulation. This is done to ensure proper functionality and operation of the printed circuit board.


PCB Insulation Materials Explained


Generally, the insulation for printed circuit board is formed by some non-conductive materials which are meld together in several layers. This will allow the electrical current to travel correctly throughout the circuit board. Depending on the type of the PCB, the materials and layers are decided. The simpler printed circuit boards can have single layer or single side but complex boards can comprise of multiple layers. These complex printed circuit boards are used for high-speed digital communication. To form these layers, different materials are used. Here are the details about those materials:


FR-2


FR-2 is a low grade substrate option which is flame-resistant in nature. This is mainly a composite material which is created with plasticized phenol resin and paper. It forms a quite durable as well as lightweight insulation layer. FR-2 is free from halogen and is also non-hydrophobic in nature. Some of the cheaper consumer electronics contain a PCB with FR-2 substrates.


FR-4


FR-4 is the most common substrates for printed circuit board. It is a woven fiberglass that contains a completely flame-resistant lamination which is very important for the electronic devices. This material is used in multi-layer and double-sided PCBs. This insulation substrate can withstand higher temperature than that of FR-2. As this is an affordable material, this is commonly found in high-end consumer electronics.


RF


This is one of the substrates that is specifically designed to allow the printed circuit board to function within the applications that generally use high-powered frequencies. You can find the RF substrates mainly in microwave oven or military electronics and aeronautical electronics. Very few consumer electronics contain this insulation material in it. The microwave PCBs come with very few layers, especially one or two.


Flex


While most of the time rigid PCBs are used for most of the applications, some of the applications may need a flexible printed circuit board. These flex circuits mainly use a flexible and thin plastic as substrate. The flex circuits always need a unique form of insulation. With the help of a PCB insulation coating spray, you can protect the flex circuits.


Metal


As the metals are typically conductive in nature, it can seem to be strange for choosing it as an insulator. In case of accidental conductivity, your printed circuit board can start to malfunction or even melt. But it is also quite beneficial to choose metal substrate for insulation of printed circuit board. As metals are considered as an excellent conductor or heat and electricity, it allows handling electrical current without burning or breaking it.


Conclusion


Printed circuit boards work best with the best and simple PCB insulation. As the insulation is much needed for the circuit boards, it is important for you to choose the right material. When you are choosing a printed circuit board and its insulation, make sure to choose a reputed company to get the best quality substrate needed for your electronic device. As PCB can be insulated with different materials, it depends completely on the PCB manufacturing company what they will choose for insulating the PCB. It can be anything ranging from the inexpensive ones like FR-2 to a sturdy and more robust Metal insulation. Choose wisely to get the best product.