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Why is PCB Insulation Necessary?

Increase in the amount of energy hitting the earth has caused a great concern to the world. Thus, the world is deliberating and advocating for reduced energy emission to protect livelihoods.

In safely guiding livelihoods, structures, appliances and devices used, safety against destruction becomes important. Thus the invention of insulators. The world has moved from the analog to digital age, this has allowed for great inventions such as the PCB.

The PCB is an important technology that is in use by various gadgets and devices. The need to insulate the PCB becomes very significant due to the high level of heat it generates. Insulation serves as the cover for the PCB against threatening temperature.

Furthermore, the knowledge of the board’s assembly and its electrical composition is important. This helps in producing a quality standard PCB that meets the demand of its end users.

More so, to have adequate understanding of the PCB insulation and the reasons why it is vital to design, read on.

What is PCB Insulation?

PCB Insulation Hole

To gain enough understanding of PCB insulation, it is crucial to have the knowledge of a PCB itself.

PCBs are the bedrock constructing blocks for the majority of electronic appliances nowadays. It forms the surface on which other elements get connected. The PCB is a mini square tablet designed of copper and it is popular in every electronic device today.

Also, PCB is an electronic assembly that uses conductive materials to link digital components. It helps in the functionality of the devices, though not visible to the eye but they form part of our daily lives.

Power is important to enable a PCB to perform. The PCB has the coated conductive material wiring to transmit electricity. Thus, the PCB generates heat as current flows across it on a consistent basis. Also, heat generated could be dangerous to the PCB; it might result in flames if overheated. This calls for the need of an insulator.

PCB Insulation is the process of using dielectric material to split elements from the conducting layer. Insulation provides coverage which prevents unexpected contact with electrical conductors on the PCB. Furthermore, correctly insulated PCB protects non conductive metals and elements from corrosion.

Failure to insulate the PCB might cause a damaging effect on the design. This might mean total loss of effort, energy and finances. But, there are various insulating materials. The choice of which most times are dependent on what the manufacturer designs the PCB for.

Some of the main objectives of insulation for printed circuit board are:

  • Reduction or removal of signal interference between two adjoining layers
  • To support voltage integrity and signal on the board
  • Preserve sticking while running the design temperature
  • To support the suitable thermal delivery during production.

How does the insulation aid PCB design and operation?

In recent times, most PCBs come in multiple layers. This is due to technological advancements. The doubled and many layered PCBs are more solid with high speed, thick with more components on the board. These advantages are with complexities that include signal routing.   

To deal with these hitches, a perfect choice of PCB insulation that manages the layers is vital. The selection procedures for consideration are as follows:

Temperature Progression/Movement

The impact made by high temperature on the board during production is a key factor to ponder about. A flexible PCB design needs many movements as against the woody PCB design.

Board Classification

The insulating material that fits the majority of the classification of PCBs is the FR -4. However, interruption caused by the control placed on PCBs with high speed is a factor to look into. This requires that insulation should be high enough to defy such interruptions.

Insulation density and signal layers

Another major factor to consider in selecting insulation for PCBs is its thickness. If a thin insulation is the choice, the base insulator beside the signal layer might disconnect. This disconnection between the signal layers will reduce the electromagnetic interference. Even so, choosing a thicker insulator on a double signal layer will allow routing on the next layer.

The Height of the PCB

The depth of the PCB can be a restraining factor to the elevation of the insulation in the design. In as much as size plays a major role in the usage of multiple layered PCBs.

PCB Insulation Coating

A freshly produced PCB comes with the expectation of perfect performance. As well as the projection that all components of the PCBs are well suited for work without itches.

Nonetheless, the PCB is open to mitigating factors that could hamper its efficiency. Environmental variables such as corrosion, dust, temperature and dirt could affect the PCB. Also factors such as voltage surge, overburden voltage and accidental impact could mitigate.

The durability and integrity of the PCB could be reduced as a result of these demeaning factors. As such, manufacturers adopted the PCB insulation coating to remove these negative factors.

The insulation coating provides coverage for the PCB against all environmental variables. It is suitable for use in a broad range of environments to protect the PCB from all kinds of mitigating factors.

The coverage provided by the insulation coating enhances higher current incline. Thus, producers are able to match the compactness and integrity demands by end users.

Define PCB Insulation Coating

Insulation coating means the method of applying resistant materials to the PCB layer. This can either be through brushing, dipping or spraying of the coating material on the PCB. Thus, the PCB is well protected against destruction caused by tough environments.

Furthermore, the PCB insulation coating also enhances the stoppage of electrical discharge. Insulation coating increases the lifespan of the PCB. Mechanical and heat pressure, damages during installation and brutal handling are practically eliminated.

Composition of PCB insulation coating materials

For a PCB insulation coating to serve as a perfect coverage to the PCB, some attributes are salient. These attributes are exceptional electrical conduction, good temperature properties, chemical inertness and absorption.

Furthermore, insulation coating will enhance the resistant capacity of PCBs against environmental variables. As well as increasing the lifespan of the PCBs.

The insulation coating materials are basically divided into five categories.  They are epoxy resin, polyurethane, organic silicon, parylene and acrylic acid resin. This is due to various contributing elements that make up the coating materials.

Categories of Insulation Coating Materials

Epoxy Resin Coating

This type of PCB coating is routinely applied on the PCB. This is due to its components and characteristics. Epoxy resin coating has high corrosion, moisture, and is temperature-resistant. It also  has an exceptional permanency strength.

Equally, epoxy resin sprayed PCB is prone to a bad performance in cold environments and it shrinks. Alteration is difficult on a PCB with epoxy resin except if it is stripped physically. Thus, damage to its components as well as excessive inner distress to frail devices will occur.

Polyurethane Coating

This insulating coating can be solidly stiff, humidity sensitive and hard to take off. Yet, it is highly durable, defies mugginess and it is resistant to acid and soluble. Polyurethane is suitable for a broad range of applications.

Due to its solid nature, rectifying any defect on a PCB coated with polyurethane is tough.  The process of curing takes a lot of time which might change its face color to yellow at high heat conditions. Also, it might likely stimulate screw ravaging.

Organic Silicon Coating

The PCB insulation coating made up of organic silicon is best suitable for high circuit PCBs. This is due to its numerous dominant resistors. It is pliable and it provides an admirable resistance to moisture and heat.

Although the silicon remnants on the PCB are hard to detach, it is poor at sustaining mechanical stability as well as resisting corrosion.

Parylene Coating

Parylene coating is a unique preservative coating used in the electronic industry. It breaks the organic compound in the vacuum valve and lays the coating evenly on the surface of the product.

More so, the parylene coating is the most efficient for highly compatible devices. It also serves as the best suited for high frequency PCBs as it provides total cover, it is also stout and thin.

Nonetheless, parylene coating is costly which stands as the only disadvantage to its choice.

Acrylic Acid Resin coating

This type of insulation coating favors electrical devices. Modification on this insulation coating is simple and it is relatively cheap.

Furthermore, the acrylic insulation coating possesses a very good moisture resistant ability. Also it has a flexible density adaptation and dries quickly.

Fixing a PCB coated with this type of insulation is technologically simple. The process is dependent on the evaporation of the soluble.

PCB Insulation Materials

Customary PCB insulation materials are set up into dielectric catalysts. The catalysts are joined together in different surfaces to allow ion flow round the board. The distance between the catalysts will determine the quantity needed for insulation.

PCB insulation estimator as a tool to discover the trickle space and intervals needed. The trickle interval means the smallest intervals between transmitting parts. As well as the space being the gap between the elements splinted by air. A good knowledge of the space and intervals is important to calculate the PCB insulation.

Furthermore, manufacturers can make choices of insulating with various insulating materials. The purpose for designing the PCB determines the choice of material for insulation.

To gain required knowledge on PCB insulation and its materials, read further down.

FR-4

FR-4 is a blended material fabricated from entwine fiberglass. It is a superior flame retardant coverage coating option best for double sided layer PCB. FR-4 is a cost effective material which makes it the favored choice for manufacturers. It has high resistance against extreme heat and bodily forces.

FR-2

FR-2 unlike FR-4 is a blended material fabricated from paper and plastic carbolic acid. Its level of flame retardant is lower compared to the FR-4. It is light and long lasting and disinfectant free suitable for single sided PCB.

Furthermore, it repels water and so can be easily stroked or grinded. Also, it is the cheapest of all choices of PCB insulation materials. It is best for manufacturers of cheap end-users electronics.

Radio Frequency Coating

This type of insulating material fits perfectly PCBs that enable high radio frequency. It is best suitable for in-flight and aero spatial electronics.

Nonetheless, a little quota of the end users electronics allows its usage as well. The pliable that has a radio frequency surface does not produce immense insulation. It can be a strong electrical waves generator if required.

Metal Coating

Metallic components are efficient conductive materials. Having a metallic surface is quite beneficial to the PCBs. Being a great heat resistor, fending off strong electrical ion flow is easy.

PCBs fixed in gadgets with high consumption of current might need a metal layer to perform maximally

Flex

With an exception to elements created out of stiff PCBs, varied applications require a flexible PCB. Flex circuits need a special type of insulation. It requires a tiny but solid insulation coating that permits free flow of movement

The PCB insulation spray is usually used as coverage for the flex circuit.

Circuit Board Insulation

Insulation is as important to the circuit board as housing is important to human lives. Insulation serves as the shield against likely attacks on the PCBs.

Circuit board insulation is the use of non conductive materials to detach the layer from conducting components on the circuit board.

The contributory role of the circuit board is quite significant. Its existence has made the operation of electronic gadgets very effective. The circuit board consists of integrated components to allow perfect functionality. These include the transistors, the inductors as well as resistors, capacitors and Diodes.

Understanding of the board’s fabrication and its automated attributes is important. This is to make sure its production is of the best quality, thus best operation of the circuit board.

PCBs get descriptions in accordance to the number of layers they have. Nonetheless, during the pile up system, decisions on various parameters come to fore. They include insulation surface, their setting and kind of materials

Furthermore, taking a precise decision depends on the knowledge the producer has. The factors to consider are physical, electrical, temperature and mechanical properties. In order to take right decisions, the under listed objectives will be a guidance

Aim of PCB insulation among layers

  • Insulation aids veracity and signal
  • Reduction or getting rid of signal interruption among the layers
  • Sustain gluing during temperature inversion

Conclusion

PCB insulation is an aspect of the manufacturing process that is very crucial. Insulating your PCBs promotes durability, integrity and safety of the PCB. PCB being the bedrock foundation on which the majority of electronic gadgets thrive lately; sustaining the growth of the industry should be a priority.