Printed circuit boards have become a vital part of any modern electronic device. Without the PCBs, you do not have electronics. Nevertheless, PCBs are made of different materials. Some are made of toxic materials, while others are made of non-biodegradable materials.
Ceramic Printed Circuit Boards have become a great alternative to traditional PCBs due to their many benefits. Here is everything you need to know about ceramic PCBs.
What is a Ceramic PCB?
A ceramic PCB is a circuit board that uses ceramics as the base materials. Then, the electronic elements are soldered onto the ceramic substrate. However, during manufacturing, the temperatures are much higher than when manufacturing the traditional PCBs.
Ceramic PCBs come with numerous benefits over other PCBs. They are lightweight, flexible, and biodegradable. The ceramics have advantages of FR4 and metal as well. They have good thermal conductivity and do not need electrical insulation layers since ceramics are good insulators.
Nevertheless, ceramic PCBs are comparatively more expensive than traditional PCBs. But on the other hand, it is a cheaper option because it needs less maintenance and is a high product. This is the main reason why most tech industries are moving to ceramic.
Why use ceramic PCBs?
When it comes to ceramic PCBs, ceramic is the main material used. Luckily, many properties of ceramic make it perfect for manufacturing printed circuit boards. Here are some of the reasons why you need to use ceramic material.
*High chemical resistance – one main reason you need to use ceramics is its high chemical resistance. It is resistant to alkali, acid, and corrosion. Hence, it is perfect for applications where there are chemicals. Thus, the material is ideal for laboratory or industrial applications.
*High heat resistance – ceramic also has high heat resistance. This is because it has a high melting point. Thus, it is a great one for high-temperature applications. This is one of the reasons you will find ceramic in ovens and kilns.
*Has remarkable mechanical strength – ceramic known for its strength. Thus, it is perfect for use in high-stress environments like those found in satellites and aircraft.
*Low thermal expansion – ceramic is a substrate that does not expand. Thus, it is perfect even when exposed to high temperatures.
*Ceramic is electrically insulating – another reason you need to use ceramic is that it is an electrical insulator. Thus, it is a great one for circuit boards where you do not want the current flow to interfere with the circuit board.
Ceramic PCBs applications
Ceramic PCBs are used in different areas to make many items. Some of the products you can find ceramic PCBs include:
*Spotlights and high-current LEDs
*Variable optical systems
*Industrial power equipment
*Power regulators for cars
*Solar cell substrates
Types of ceramic PCBs
There are different types of ceramic PCBs. However, they are classified according to how they are made. For example, you will find low-temperature ceramic PCBs and high-temperature PCBs.
High-temperature ceramic PCBs
These are printed circuit boards designed to be used in high-temperature environments. They are made from alumina, a type of ceramic material. It has a very high melting point, thus perfect for high-temperature applications such as ovens, kilns, and furnaces.
Apart from the above uses, high-temperature ceramic PCBs have many other uses. You will find them in satellites, military equipment, and spacecraft, among many other uses.
Low-temperature ceramic PCBs
Another type of ceramic PCB is low-temperature PCB. Like high-temperature ceramic PCBs, these circuit boards have high thermal conductivity, mechanical strength, and insulation resistance.
Even though some are made of alumina, some use mullite material cheaper than alumina. They are designed to work in low-temperature environments such as fridges and freezers. They have a low melting point.
Thick film ceramic film
These are ceramic printed circuit boards that are thicker than the two types. Even though they are thick, the thickness is above 10 microns but not more than 14 microns. They are used in very high temperatures.
One of the main benefits of using thick ceramic film is shielding the copper from oxidation. Also, thickness allows the board to accommodate more electronic components.
Properties of ceramic PCB
*Good thermal conductivity – ceramic PCBs are reliable in high and low-temperature applications due to good thermal conductivity.
*Excellent chemical resistance – another property of ceramic PCB is their resistance to erosion and corrosion due to chemicals, water, and gasses. So, ceramic PCB is the best option if you plan to use the board in a harsh environment.
*High mechanical strength – ceramic printed circuit boards have a mechanical strength that can withstand extreme stress and vibrations without getting damaged.
*Compatible with electronic elements – ceramic printed circuit boards are compatible with many electronic components such as microcontrollers and sensitive logic chips.
*Easy to handle and lightweight – even though they are durable, they are easy to handle and lightweight. Hence, it is an excellent choice for applications where weight is a determining factor.
ceramic PCB manufacturing process
About the manufacturing process, the ceramic PCB is similar to other types of PCB, which includes drilling hole, silkscreen, etching, CNC milling and so on.
One thing you need to consider is that ceramic pcb is based on ceramic material, it’s brittle and easy to break. In the drilling and cnc machining, the speed and cutting depth should be slower than others.
Here is everything you need to know about ceramic PCBs. Being one of the newest PCB types on the market, it has numerous benefits. It has good thermal conductivity, excellent chemical resistance, high mechanical strength, and is compatible with several electronic components.
Due to its numerous benefits, you will find it in many sectors, including electronic instrumentation, telecommunication, satellite, military, and many others.