The world has witnessed an exponential rise in electronic appliances use in domestic, commercial, and industrial applications in the last two decades or so. They play an important role in almost every aspect of our daily life. From smartphones and computers to household appliances and from medical and military equipment to telecommunication and aerospace, there is not a single facet of life where electronics don’t have a part to play, and at the heart of each electronic device, there is a printed circuit board (PCB). They provide mechanical support and electrical connectivity to the boards. Normally PCBs are made of fiberglass, composite epoxy, or other such composite materials.
Well, whenever you hear the world electronics, PCB is the first name that comes to your mind. PCBs are the innate component of electronic devices. These PCBs come in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and configurations, each having its own features that enable them to perform a myriad of applications in electronics ranging from the simplest of devices like LED lights to highly sophisticated equipment like Airplane black box. With the technological advancements, PCBs evolved from simple single-layered PCB to modern multi-layered multi-functional PCBs.
Why We Need PCBs?
We need PCBs because every electronic device requires one or more PCBs for physical support and area for wiring connections. Without PCBs, we can never imagine even simple electronic devices like small-sized calculators and watch, let alone the latest, smart, and sensitive electronic appliances. They increase the workability, and performance of devices, and that is why the electronic developers always carry the challenge of manufacturing better and better PCBs to meet the needs and the requirements of the users, both domestic and commercial.
Based on the requirements, PCBs can be made of any type or quality. In the next section, we will discuss various types of PCBs that are used for specific purposes.
Types of PCBs and Why We Use Them?
The type of PCB is assessed from the number of layers and the base material it is made up of. The six common types of PCBs and why we used them are discussed below:
1. Single Layered PCB
These are the simplest PCBs having only one layer of conducting material. We use these PCBs because they are easy to design and less expensive. So, they are extensively used in appliances like calculators, photocopy and printer machine circuits, and digital cameras.
2. Double Layered PCB
A double layer PCB has a conductive layer of Copper on both sides of the substrate. Since fewer connections are present on a double-layer PCB, it is comparatively lighter in weight and offers more electrical conductivity than a single layer PCB. However, they are a bit costlier than single-layered PCBs.
We use double-layer PCBs in relatively complex and higher technology devices as they offer more flexibility in their design. That is why they are used in vending machines, HVAC systems, UPS systems, power supplies, power connections, and industrial and commercial controls.
3. Multi-Layered PCB
Contrary to single- or double-layer PCBs, a multilayer PCB has, as the name indicates, more than 2 layers of conducting material. Typically, insulation is provided between the layers to protect them from melting during the working process as sometimes excessive heat is generated. Moreover, multilayer PCB reduces the electromagnetic interference generated by the board. They have smaller sizes and weight as layers are closely stacked over each other.
The multilayer PCBs typically come in 3-12 layers, thick boards. However, you can add a number of layers according to your requirements. The developers have also produced 50-layer thick multilayer PCBs.
The customers use multilayer PCBs for sophisticated and sensitive devices like X-ray equipment, heart monitors, data storage, GPS technology, and other devices where small size and weight is critical to their performance.
4. Rigid PCB
As the name implies, the rigid PCBs have a solid base material or substrate that provides more rigidity to the boards. They have a simple design and offer resistance to twisting or breaking. They are less expensive and their simple design makes them easy to repair and maintain and maintain their shape for a lifetime. A rigid PCB can be a single layer or a multilayer rigid PCB that depends upon the needs of the user.
They are compact and immune to movements, that is why rigid PCBs are widely used in many computer hardware components like RAM, CPU, motherboard, and hard drives. Similarly, they are a perfect choice for temperature sensors, power convertors, airplane cockpit instruments, EMG, and other industrial and commercial processes that require stationed and fixed boards.
5. Flexible PCB
A flexible PCB is has a malleable or elastic base material like plastic, that gives it 360-bendability. They can be twisted, and bent as per the needs so they can be easily fixed into any device or finished