PCBs are fundamental units of modern electronics and smart equipment. These devices have vast applications in different domains around us. There are several roles of PCBs that you cannot ignore. Today, electronics cannot survive without PCBs at all.
There are also different factors that influence PCBs to a large extent. One of them is the production material used for developing PCBs. It can be a game changer for your PCB layouts if you know the art of using an appropriate material for the PCB designs.
In this discussion, we are going to have a look at two common materials for producing PCBs. Do you want to learn the art of choosing the best PCB material? Worry not, as we are going to discuss these common PCB materials in detail for your ease! So let’s get started without further ado!
Types of PCB Materials
Before we start comparing these PCB materials, we need to know why even they matter in the first place. So different PCB producers have their own takes on PCB materials. But a fine quality PCB material will ensure efficient performance of PCBs. Plus, it will enhance their longevity in the long run.
Now, let’s study these common PCB materials quickly in this section!
- FR4: It means the material you are using is fire retardant. Such a fire-resistant material comprises fiberglass and resins that give it remarkable properties for productive use. FR4 is beneficial due to exceptional dielectric characteristics. It is a lightweight material and does not overweight the PCBs at all. Plus, it has no parallel for its outstanding mechanical strength. You can rely on FR4 since it removes all the moisture from your setup. FR4 PCBs have important use cases in different fields. Such PCBs come in handy when the machines are complex and work on a high frequency. Some variants of FR4 are also available without halogen, which renders devices some extra qualities on the whole.
- FR406: Another irresistible PCB material is FR406. Now, this type completely comprises resins that are fruitful for the efficient functioning of PCBs. One similarity between the FR4 and FR406 materials is that they can be produced by following the same process. However, there are still more benefits of using FR406 instead of the former one because it gives extra control and thermal conductivity to the PCBs.
- 370HR: It is basically a lamination of FR4 material and has major significance for improving the durability and thermal functions of PCBs. Some special resins are important to produce such a fine-quality PCB material. Also, the fiberglass used for 370HR is of a special grade, normally called E-class fiberglass.
- Rogers 4003: It is recommendable for complex high-frequency devices. The laminates used to produce this type of PCB material are ceramic or made of hydrocarbons. Such a material comes in handy when the devices perform in extreme and critical conditions. It is a suitable option when you need more regulation on the dielectric constant. Keep in mind that it is not a PTFE-based material. Due to this reason, it does not need any sort of precise supervisory techniques at all.
- Rogers 4350: It is another variant of the former PCB material. Rogers 4350 is beneficial for applications that involve UL-94V-0 operations. Its laminates are also of ceramic and hydrocarbons. The process of this material is also similar to that of FR4 material. It has important applications in RF electronics and high-powered complex electronics as well.
- Aluminum and Copper Base: You might be surprised to know this, but aluminum and copper both make useful PCB materials. Typically used for complex PCBs with multiple layers, these metals are reliable for such an application. It is because metals like copper and aluminum are extraordinary in thermal conductivity. They are also good insulators of electricity.
- Teflon: Teflon is a PTFE material that provides great qualities to PCBs. Teflon is among the best conductors of electricity and offers exceptional thermal regulation. Besides, it is a flame-resistant material and increases the durability of PCBs as well.
Recap of 370HR PCB Material
370HR is suitable when you need your devices to perform efficiently in complex conditions. It is because this material will stabilize your devices in terms of thermal conductivity and electrical insulation.
It means 370HR will not only prevent abrasive damage to your devices but will increase their longevity as well. Fiberglass and resins come together to produce 370HR. Also, it has flame-resistant qualities that ensure it is safe to use in extreme circumstances.
Also, you can rely on it when the temperatures exceed their limit. It can protect itself easily from deformation due to its attributes. It means 370HR can prove to be a great asset for those devices that generate excessive heat during their operations.
The mechanical support and dimensional stability given by 370HR eventually helps the PCBs for their fine performance in the long run.
Benefits of Isola 370HR
There are some remarkable benefits of 370HR that you need to know:
- The laminations of this material are good for ensuring adequate thermal conductivity even if the thermal expansion values are small.
- The material does not afford chemical leaks and moisture; therefore, it is reliable to use instead of FR4 in some use cases.
- 370HR is also supportive of laser fluorescing and UV impeding, which is why it has important applications in solder mask imaging processes and optical positioning when needed.
Isola 370HR Sequential Lamination
There is not just one method for sequential lamination. Instead, you can choose one of the appropriate techniques for your ease. However, in most cases, technicians would use a chunk of laminate and place it on the copper layer for sequential lamination. Now we are going to have a look at some common methods to execute sequential lamination in this section!
· Multiple layer count
The part of laminate used for this process is much larger. It consists of up to 30 layers. However, the hardware present on this laminate has two portions. The vias are completely covered for this process that renders different qualities to the final product.
· Blind via boards
In this method, you will join the laminates together. However, you need to insert an external small piece to make sure the chunks are at sufficient distances from each other. Now, you can easily connect these chunks by making a hole for completing the assembly of PCBs.
· Standard HDI
Keep in mind that the center of Isola PCBs is always thin. The layers are only four for this process. But it is possible that the core of the PCBs can have 2-3 circuits on each side. It is because there have been different cases that produced such PCBs. The standard HDI is among the most viable and common sequential lamination methods used by far.
Applications of Isola 370HR
Isola PCBs that consist of 370HR are highly important for the following applications:
- Consumer electronics and hardware equipment
- Processing tools along with storage devices
- Machinery for defense and aerospace
- Networking systems and communication networks
How to create holes in Isola 370HR?
There is no doubt that 370HR has exceptional thermal stability. Due to the resins present in this material, it has remarkable modulus features. One best part about these PCBs is that they give off much less waste when you drill them during the process.
It does not happen with other forms of PCB materials at all. The removal of such debris from PCBs is a complicated process. Special helix equipment is important to make sure the PCBs are free of debris. Now it makes sense why 370HR is a reliable option for usage as it is a cost-efficient solution on all counts.
Recap of FR4 PCB Material
FR4 is the most basic and easily accessible PCB material for producers. The constituents of FR4 are similar to others. These are fiberglass and resins. The best part about FR4 material is that it is an affordable option.
It means the producers can easily rely on FR4 because of such features. FR4 is not just affordable but also offers good mechanical strength. It is important when you are designing simple and complex PCBs.
Properties of FR4 PCB Material
You might be thinking, as of now, what makes FR4 material so important for the producers? Well, it’s all about the properties of this material. It fits well with UL94V-0 standards. It means it also features plastic-inflammability features.
The standard we are talking about here distinguishes a material on the basis of some features. FR4 meets this standard because it does not spark electrical fires. Now the question is why FR4 is resistant to flames and electrical fires. The answer is quite simple!
It is because brome is a special constituent of FR4. Bromine itself is a fire-resistant halogen. Due to the presence of bromine, FR4 has exceptional resistance to electrical fires. Moreover, this material is highly effective for glass transitions.
The glass transition when using FR4 must be within a certain range of temperature. Now you should know that FR4 has different variants. Some variants use copper, while others don’t. It means the type of lamination of FR4 mainly depends on the temperature changes.
It is the thickness of FR4 that has great importance in producing PCBs. Owing to this, you need to make sure that you are choosing an appropriate FR4 based on its thickness and other factors. So what are these factors?
- How much compatible is FR4 with PCB parts?
- Does it save enough space on your PCBs?
- Is this FR4 flexible enough?
- Is the design accurate for your projects?
- What type of connections do you need for this FR4 material?
Benefits of an RF-4 Material
If you will ask for one major benefit of this material, then it would be its affordable nature. Unlike some PCB materials that go vanish from the market. FR4 is always available to meet the needs of PCB manufacturers. Due to this, producers can use it for PCB fabrication.
Comparison of 370HR and FR4 PCB Materials
Now, we are going to compare 370HR and FR4 materials based on their pros and cons. If you consider, this section is the most important of all in this post. The strong and weak points of these exceptional materials would clear all the ambiguities about them for you.
In this way, you would be able to choose the best type of material for your requirements! So let’s not waste time and unlock these down below!
- It is better for the thermal stabilization of your setup
- It can sustain its performance during extreme temperature changes
- Heat-sensitive devices can take benefit from 370HR because it maintains its shape under stressful conditions
- It is way much better than FR4 when you need electrical insulation for your projects
- It is much more affordable than 370HR
- It is always available in the market
The End Note
It is hard to make a choice between 370HR and FR4 when it comes to producing PCBs. There is no doubt that 370HR exceeds your expectations in some areas than FR4. But it does not mean that you can consider using both materials.
The sole purpose of every PCB producer is to make suitable PCBs that are specific for different applications. The specificity of PCBs is all due to their components. Similarly, the materials used for the production of PCBs are specific to the type of PCBs you want to use them for.
Complications occur when producers and individual engineers fail to keep some considerations in mind while using PCB materials. In case of negligence, if they are using an expensive PCB material and it goes to waste, it will just increase the production cost for them.
In this post, you will get a vivid idea about the weak points of both materials. Also, make sure the application you are using these materials is appropriate. Otherwise, these materials will fail to give you desired results.
Hopefully, this post was useful for your future projects. You can take as much help as needed from this detailed guide on 370HR vs. FR4. See you in the next post with something more fascinating from the PCB industry!