What is Base Material

By Bester PCBA

Last Updated: 2023-09-04

What is Base Material

Base material is the substrate or carrier upon which the assembly and circuits of PCB are constructed. It serves as the fundamental foundation for the electronic components and circuitry mounted on the PCB. Base materials are typically delivered to PCB manufacturers in the form of panels, which are then cut into the appropriate production panel size for PCB fabrication. These materials come in various types, each possessing unique characteristics and properties that can impact the functionality and performance of the PCB.

One commonly used base material is fiberglass with epoxy, commonly known as FR4. FR4 is a flame-retardant material that offers good electrical insulation properties and mechanical strength. It is available in two forms: core (copper-clad) and prepreg. The core form of FR4 consists of a layer of copper-clad fiberglass, where the copper layer is etched to create the desired circuit pattern. This core material provides structural support and electrical connectivity for the PCB. Prepreg, on the other hand, is a layer of fiberglass impregnated with epoxy resin. It is used to bond multiple layers of core material together, forming a multilayer PCB.

Other base materials used in the PCB industry include polyimide (PI), which offers high-temperature resistance, and Rogers materials, which provide excellent high-frequency performance. The selection of base material depends on factors such as specific application requirements, desired electrical properties, thermal management needs, and cost considerations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between FR4 and Aluminum

Compared to regular FR4 PCBs, aluminum PCBs excel in terms of thermal dissipation and have the ability to rapidly dissipate heat. Let’s take the example of comparing a 1.5mm thick FR4 PCB with an aluminum PCB.

What Is FR4 vs FR5 Material

FR5 material, on the other hand, has a higher Tg of 160° C (320° F) and a maximum operating temperature of 140° C (284° F). This makes it thermally more consistent compared to FR4.

What Heavy Metals Are in PCBs

Waste printed circuit boards (PCBs) contain various hazardous heavy metals, such as copper (Cu), tin (Sn), lead (Pb), as well as other metals like zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni), iron (Fe), bromine (Br), manganese (Mn), and magnesium (Mg).

What Is FR4 PCB Material

FR4 PCB material is a type of printed circuit board base material that is composed of a composite of flame retardant epoxy resin and glass fabric. It is known for its flame retardant properties and meets the UL94V-0 requirements. Additionally, FR4 exhibits excellent adhesion to copper foil and has low water absorption, making it highly suitable for various standard applications.

What Is the Difference Between FR1 and FR4 PCB

FR4 PCB material is particularly well-suited for passing through-holes, unlike FR1, FR2, or FR3 materials. Unlike these other materials, FR4 does not present any challenges or difficulties. This makes FR4 a popular choice for creating various layers of printed circuit boards, from single-layer to multilayer PCBs.

What Can I Use Instead of FR4 Material

CEM-1 is a cost-effective substitute for FR4 material. It is classified by NEMA and consists of paper, two layers of woven glass epoxy, and phenol compounds. However, CEM-1 is limited to the production of single-sided printed circuit boards due to its incompatibility with hole metallization processes.

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