Before learning the Advantages and Disadvantages of Multilayer PCBs, It is better to learn some basic nature of the printed circuit boards. SFX PCB decides to share some basic knowledge of PCBs so that all the advantages and disadvantages will be clear to all. Let’s start…
In the development of printed circuit boards, it has been an important feature for PCBs to be smaller and more complex. This trend has resulted in many new circuit boards that fit into compact location and this factor allowed us to improve our devices. But there were following problems that traditional PCB had:
- Heat dissipation
- The complexion of the removal process
- Coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE)
Ceramic PCBs are the answer to solve these issues. Ceramic printed circuit board has a base of ceramic with gold or silver tracing. Even though these ceramic boards are newer products, they have gained a lot of popularity due to the high functionality. A ceramic-based board is a great improvement to older machines but it does have a few disadvantages. Know that there are different fabrication methods for multilayer ceramic boards and they differ in performance and quality.
Fabrication Methods of Multilayer Ceramic PCB
- Thick film ceramic board
By printing gold and dielectric paste on a ceramic base, these boards are heated in temperature slightly lower than a thousand degrees (1000°). Copper or gold is used and utilization of nitrogen gas prevents oxidation resulting in higher durability and quality.
- LTCC PCB
LTCC stands for low-temperature co-fired ceramic. For high thermal conductivity, the traces are made from gold. The boards are heated at 900°C. This type of PCB used co-firing which is done by combusting non-glass, glass components, or glass crystals simultaneously.
- HTCC PCB
HTCC stands for high-temperature co-fired ceramic. It uses lubricator, adhesive, plasticizer, solvent, and aluminum-oxide. The tracing is made from molybdenum or tungsten which are very good for taking a lot of heat. The heating temperature is between 1600°C to 1700°C. These boards are usually smaller and better.
What is The Advantages and Disadvantages of Multilayer PCBs
Ceramic multilayer PCBs come with a lot of features that are not present in traditional circuit boards. These advantages make it better than any other printed circuit board. The advantages mentioned are not specified to a specific kind of ceramic PCB. Instead, these are the general advantages that can be found in most multilayer circuit boards that have a ceramic base. Some of the advantages are:
1. Higher thermal conductivity
Thermal conductivity means the ability to transfer heat energy. Ceramic has very good thermal conductivity. Higher thermal conductivity allows the device to control temperature and not get damaged from excessive heat. High-quality products use ceramic on the circuit boards so that they have better durability and temperature control. This is the best feature of multilayer ceramic PCB and also the main reason for it being used in aerospace.
2. Easy multi-layering
Ceramic can allow easy multi-layering for having high mechanical strength. It can easily support the weight of other components which lets anyone have multiple layers. More layer of such circuit boards means it the device can do more complex works. This results in increased performance for devices.
3. High-quality insulation
Typical circuit boards often face problems for inconsistencies in voltage amount. But ceramic-based circuit boards don’t have such issues. Ceramic has very high-quality insulation that allows it to insulate electrical resistance effectively. It has a high voltage withstand capacity for increased safety. When a ceramic PCB is used in any electrical device, it has better protection of voltage problems.
4. Low dielectric constant
In high temperature and high humidity environment, ceramic boards have good stability. This is due to the low dielectric constant that allows it to be undamaged in extreme conditions. It adds to the safety and the quality of any device.
5. Low thermal expansion is a great advantage of the multilayer PCBs
Some materials can expand in touch with heat. This can’t be allowed in a circuit board as it may bring great damage to the device. This is why ceramic printed circuit boards have low thermal expansion. Ceramic can maintain its size at high temperatures.
6. High cosmic ray resistance
Ceramic PCBs can resist cosmic rays greatly. This feature is very important for aerospace since space has a high amount of radiation and cosmic rays. General PCBs might get damaged over time for radiation as a result, ceramic-based PCBs are a better option.
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Ceramic printed circuit boards are very small in size and that allows for greater innovation. Devices that were known as a computer years ago now are inside our mobile phones. This is why being compact is very important for circuit boards.
Let’s talk about Disadvantages: Advantages and Disadvantages of Multilayer PCBs
There are only a few disadvantages that can be found in ceramic PCBs. They are:
Ceramic boards cost more than traditional boards. There is a reason why it is mostly used in aerospace and high-tech products. This is, arguably, ceramics circuit boards’ main disadvantage. But consider its performance, the price is not too much. In fact, it will save you from future costs for repairs and will provide better customer satisfaction that will increase your brand’s reputation.
Ceramic boards are fragile. That means they are hard to be handled and need extra effort. As a result, it would take much time to fix it if it gets damaged. Another factor that comes into play is its size. Ceramic PCBs are very compact and made for tight spaces. But the effort of handling is worth it considering its service and quality.
3. Availability is the most disadvantage of the Advantages and Disadvantages of Multilayer PCBs
Compared to other circuit boards, ceramic-based circuit boards have low availability. It is not something you can easily find. There are some online selling services that offer ceramic boards but their quality needs to be checked. And when you’re looking for fine ceramic, the search can take some time to find the right board you want. The scarcity of it adds to the price.
Considering the number of advantages of ceramic PCBs, the disadvantages are not so many. This is why ceramic boards are the best choice amongst any other typical boards. Before buying it, you can compare it to different types of printed circuit boards and find out which one would be great for use. But when it comes to quality, don’t hesitate to buy ceramic-based boards.