The rise of the modern world was marked by the rise of PCBs.
One could say that the use of PCBs or Printed Circuit Boards, allowed for greater efficiency, productivity scalability, than ever thought before.
Due to this, PCBs have been adopted far and wide, and have become an industry standard.
The result of this is evident everywhere, given that one can see the use of PCBs in just about every aspect of our lives, whether we realize it or not.
This widespread use of PCBs inadvertently calls for a certain degree of uniqueness.
Since each requirement will have its own necessities to be addressed, it is a given that there will be several design changes in the PCBs itself.
When it comes to such design changes, there happens to be several worth mentioning.
Given in the list below are some of the major types of PCBs currently available in the marketplace.
1.) Single-Sided PCBs
As the name would suggest, single-sided PCBs are those PCBs, which have the circuits on just one single layer of the substrate or base material. This layer, which conducts the electricity in the board, is typically made using copper. Also, a protecting solder mask is used on the copper layer's peak as well for stability. Furthermore, a last silkscreen coat may also be added on top for marking the many components of the board.
It is used for a wide range of circuits as well as electronics, with the main applications being the simplest applications. They are some of the cheapest boards around, due to their simple construction. While this might seem advantageous to their users, they are also one of the least used, due to their simple designs not being compatible with complex applications.
2.) Double-Sided PCBs
Double-Sided PCBs are as the name suggests those printed circuit boards which have circuits on both sides of the board. In here, both sides of the board have metal conductive layers, along with all of the components. Furthermore, the circuits have holes in them, which allow for the circuits to be connected from one side to the other.
Coming to the way the circuits are connected, they typically make use of either the through-hole or surface mount technology. Through-hole technology is one of the most common ones used, where the board is drilled with a hole, after which small feeding wires called leads are used along with solder to connect circuits from one side to the other. Surface-mount technology on the other hand, uses several small leads soldered in the board to carry the circuit.
These boards are far more broadly used than that of single-layer PCBs, due to their complexity and overall efficiency. They are also more expensive, given their design complexity.
3.) Multilayer PCBs
Multi-layer PCBs are the next level of PCB design, where the conductive layer is comprised of more than two layers.
This design is typically achieved by adding multiple layers above and below the main board of a double-layer PCB. The number of layers used in multi-layer PCBs can vary, ranging from a few to several, depending on the need and complexity.
The presence of several conducting layers, allow for the creation of designs with a high degree of complexity and function. They are used in some of the most challenging technological aspects of the modern world, and also happen to be more expensive, with the cost factor increasing proportionately to the number of layers in the design.
One of the more unique aspects of the boards is that of the extra layers used, which provide the electricity supplies as well as provide for a certain degree of protection from electromagnetic interference, emitted by designs. This makes them highly sought after in applications where electromagnetic interference is a major issue.
4.) Rigid PCBs
The term 'rigid' here refers to the fact that the board has been created on a stable and solid surface, which doesn't move, warp or twist in any manner.
It is one of the most commonly used PCBs, and can be single-sided, double-layered or multi-layered in design.
Furthermore, the boards used are typically made using materials such as fiberglass, which provides it with the structural strength and stability.
They are used in just about every major application that one can imagine, where circuitry is required, ranging from small gadgets to large scale industrial machinery.
5.) Flex PCBs
Flexible boards are those boards, which are designed to be 'flexible' in nature, meaning that rather than being rigid in shape and design, they are able to warp and twist.
The design of flexible boards is achieved in most cases through the use of flexible polymers, which allow for the boards to fit into forms which would otherwise not be possible without damaging the circuits.
They are typically used in applications which have a lot of moving parts, where rigid designs doesn't allow for circuits to change their positions as required. Furthermore, the design of these boards may be single-layered, double-layered or multi-layered, depending on the requirement.
6.) Rigid-Flex PCBs
Rigid-flex boards are those boards, which are a mix of the designs used in flexible and rigid circuits. Typically, these boards tend to contain a rigid circuit board, which in turn is connected to a flexible circuit board.
Furthermore, the design used in these boards can be complex, depending on the nature of the requirement.
Another thing to be added is that they are usually expensive, given the degree of complexity in their design. Also to be added here is that the cost tends to increase, as the level of complexity increases in the design.
They are used in those applications where the circuitry has a mixed need, for both rigid as well as flexible components.
In all, the above mentioned list of PCB variants, are some of the most common ones used in the market.
One could say that they are the go-to product of choice for most manufacturers, in just about every field imaginable.
In addition to this, it should also be added that there are many more PCB varieties available, albeit less popular and widespread.
Regardless, the above should give one idea about the diversity that exists in this aspect of the technology world.
From the simple to the complex, and from the unknown to the too well known, all of them play a major role in keeping the modern world running every single day.