Flex PCB vs Ceramic PCB

Have you any idea of Flex PCB vs ceramic PCBSFX PCB will discuss about this topic.

Flexible and ceramic PCB is very popular amongst buyers but which one is better? To know that we have to compare both of them. But before that, we need to know their definition and uses.

Table of Contents

Flex PCB and its Uses

Flexible PCB is also called flexible circuits. It is a kind of technology used for assembling electronic circuit by mounting electronic devices over flexible plastic layers or coverings. The coverings are either polyimide or PEEK. Besides flex circuits can be printed over silver screen made up of polyester. Flex circuits are manufactured using identical components of printed circuit boards (PCB), therefore they are called flex PCB. Ceramic PCB is used in the following technologies.

  • Computer keyboards
  • LCD fabrications.
  • Organic light-emitting diodes.
  • Used as connectors in various applications.

Advantages of Flex PCB

Flex PCB vs ceramic PCB
  • Easy to replace multiple connectors.
  • They are mainly single-sided circuits ideal for high flex applications such as LCD.

Disadvantages of flex PCB

  • The higher the rigidity the more the pricing.
  • Damaging risk increases during handling or use.
  • Assembling the parts is difficult.
  • Repairing becomes difficult due to complex mechanisms.

Ceramic PCB and its Uses

If a person wants to use PCB in higher pressure, higher insulation in higher temperature than the ceramic PCB would be the best choice apart from MCPCB. Many of the local users find the material used for the ceramic boards to be more reliable than any other board. This is just because they provide suitable layers for electronic circuits which usually have high thermal conductivity and low expansion coefficient.

The ceramic PCB is highly and can replace any other circuit board with an additional lesser complex design and increased performance. Ceramic PCB also works on very high temperatures such as up to 350-degree celsius. Using a ceramic PCB can result in overall lower system costs and can be very effective as compared to its cost.

Ceramic PCB

The material used for making ceramic PCB is metal cores. Aluminum nitride is used for providing high thermal conductivity which is greater than 150w/mK. Aluminum oxide boards are used instead of aluminum nitride boards because they are less expensive. Since both the material provides almost the same thermal conductivity, oxide boards are preferred due to its lesser pricing.

Industries that Use Ceramic PCB

  • Used in Automotive industries
  • Used in Aerospace
  • Heavy machinery
  • Used in medical devices.

Advantages of Ceramic PCB

  • It has high thermal conductivity.
  • It allows easy multi-layering for having high mechanical strength.
  • A lower dielectric constant which decreases the risk of damaging.
  • Being compact the ceramic boards allow greater innovation.

Disadvantages of Ceramic PCB

  • The costing is effectively high as the material used is expensive.
  • Availability is less because the materials are not found easily.
  • Ceramic boards are fragile and need to be handled with care.

Uses of Ceramic PCB

  • Used in semiconductor coolers.
  • Used in high power LEDs
  • In voltage controlled oscillator.
  • It is sed in high power semiconductor modules.
  • Solar panel arrays is the sector where it is used.
  • Used in electric power transmitting modules.

Let’s Discuss Flex PCB vs ceramic PCB

Ceramic boards are superior to flexible boards due to some reasons which can be exploited over certain application. One significant difference between them is the material used. The ceramic circuit boards are made up of either aluminum oxide or aluminum nitride which is of more superior quality than the material used in flexible circuits which are made up of polyimide or PEEK.

The flexible PCB has lesser thermal conductivity as compared to the materials used for ceramic boards. Aluminum oxide is comparatively 20 times more thermally conductive as FR4 along with aluminum nitride and silicon carbide which is comparatively 100 times more thermally conductive. Boron used In ceramic boards is so far of the highest conductivity.

Ceramic boards do not require metal planes, thermal vias on its inner layers and fans, unlike the flex PCB. It is commonly said that higher thermal conductivity tends to be a good electrical conductor. The electric conductivity of ceramic boards is somewhat low which is not such a big problem as it can be increased by doping.

The lower thermal conductivity of the Flexible boards often leads to the problem of having hot spots on the surface and it affects the layers of the inner circuit as well, which are not suitable for heat transport as it takes place throughout the process. The risk could be increased due to the mismatch in the expansion of materials due to heat between FR4 and copper resulting in stress created over the thermal process of these boards. The hot baking process becomes easy for multilayer PCBs as the material integrates directly into the inner layers of the ceramic PCB which is not possible in a PCB made up of FR4.

Peter Gong
Peter Gong

I am Peter Gong. I have been working in PCB and PCBA industry for 15+ years now. I have been a part of the PCB revolution with my dedication to circuit board technologies and creative ideas. I write in FX PCB to impart my knowledge on PCB and PCBA for all circuit board lovers, manufacturers, and users.