Printed Circuit Boards

A printed circuit board (PCB) is a piece of electrical hardware that mechanically supports and connects electrical components using conductive tracks, pads, or other features etched from one or more sheets of copper laminate onto and/or between sheets of a non-conductive substrate. Components are soldered onto the PCB to connect them both electrically and mechanically. PCBs are used in all types of electronic products, as well as electrical products such as passive switch boxes.

PCBs can be single-, double-, or multi-layer. Multi-layer PCBs allow for a much higher component density, because circuit traces on the inner layers would otherwise take up the limited surface space between components. The rise in popularity of multi-layer PCBs coincided with the adoption of surface mount technology, a method in which electrical components are mounted directly onto the surface of a PCB. Despite this, multi-layer PCBs are more difficult to repair, analyze, and modify. The world market for PCBs is expected to reach nearly eighty billion dollars by the year 2024.

In addition to single, double, and multi-layer PCBs, there are a number of other types of PCBs. This blog will explain each and offer some insight into their characteristics and advantages.

Single-Layer PCBs

These are the most basic type of circuit board, containing only one layer of substrate. This layer is covered with a thin layer of metal, usually copper or another good conductor of electricity. Single-layer PCBs also contain a protective solder mask, which, along with a silk screen coat, is applied to the top of the copper layer. Advantages of single-layer PCBs are their low costs and simplicity.

Double-Layer PCBs

These PCBs have a metal conductive layer on both sides of the substrate. Holes within the circuit board allow these metal layers to be attached from one side to another. Double-layer PCBs connect the circuits on either side by through-hole technology, wherein lead components are inserted through pre-drilled holes in the circuit board, or surface mount technology. Advantages of double-layer PCBs include their versatility and ability to connect to more circuits than single-layer PCBs.

Multi-Layer PCBs

This type of circuit board comprises more than two copper layers; they can have four, six, eight, and so on. The various layers are separated by substrate board and insulating materials. Despite having multiple layers, these PCBs are compact and light. Their advantages include high design flexibility, and their space-saving characteristics.

Rigid PCBs

Rigid PCBs are PCBs whose base material is fabricated from solid material that cannot be bent. Their main advantages are that they are compact, allowing for complex circuitry around it. They also offer simple repair and maintenance.

Flexible PCBs

These PCBs are built on flexible base materials. They are offered in single-, double, and multi-layer formats. These PCBs help save space and weight, decrease board size, and can function in conditions where temperature and density are concerns.

Rigid-Flex PCBs

As their name suggests, these PCBs are a combination of rigid and flexible circuit boards. They comprise layers of flexible circuits attached to rigid boards. These are precision built, making them very beneficial in medical and military applications. Additionally, rigid-flex PCBs are very light-weight, offering 60% weight and space savings.

High-Frequency PCBs

High-frequency PCBs are used in the frequency range of 500MHz – 2GHz. These PCBs are useful in applications where frequency is critical. This includes communication systems, microwave PCBs, microstrip PCBs, and so on.

Aluminum-Backed PCBs

Aluminum-backed PCBs are used in high power applications where the aluminum construction helps dissipate heat. These PCBs are known to offer high levels of rigidity, as well as low levels of thermal expansion, making them ideal for applications requiring high mechanical tolerances. They are primarily used for LEDs and power supplies.

Whatever type of PCB you need, Paragon Purchasing is here to help. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find a broad range of electronic components. This includes printed circuit boards, as well as parts such as edge connectors and much more. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, call us at 1-914-359-2001 or email us at sales@paragonpurchasing.com.


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