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What is Carbon Ink PCB - A Complete Introduction

carbon ink pcb
PCBONLINE Team Thur, Jun 03, 2021

Carbon ink PCB is a printed circuit board that uses carbon ink on its required pads. In this post, you can get an overall understanding of carbon ink PCB and its PCB ink.

What is Carbon Ink PCB

carbon ink PCB

A carbon ink PCB refers to a printed circuit board that comes with carbon ink copper pads. The carbon acts as a conductor to connect two traces on the PCB board while the resistor is between the traces or between the traces and components. The key factor in carbon ink PCB production is control printing, baking, and resistance control.

The carbon ink PCB laminates include polyimide, polyester, FR-4, FR-5, and PTFE laminates. The carbon ink can propose resolutions as fine as 100μm trace width and spacing.

The carbon contacts on the carbon ink PCBs are usually used for keyboard contacts, LCD contacts, and jumpers. 75% of the nominal value is required for carbon widths. Typically, the carbon contacts are round, and normally their size is 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 mm in diameter.

Advantages of Carbon Ink PCB
Carbon ink printing on PCBs is environmentally friendly. It won't cause pollution to the air, water, or soil. Besides, carbon ink circuit board offers low cost and strong durability.

Applications of Carbon Ink PCB

carbon ink PCB

Carbon ink PCB is mainly used to create a protective contact surface for switches, and its applications include RF shielding, automotive vehicles, keypad, remote control, industrial engine control, calculators, telephones, computers, transmitters, TV, and VCR typewriters.

What are the Inks Used for PCB?

Carbon ink, also known as conductive carbon ink, plays a significant role in minimizing the PCB manufacturing cost.

When it comes to robustness, dry carbon ink is usually hard enough to withstand more than 1 million keyboard push-button operations, or more than 100 insertion operations of edge connectors without showing wear or increased resistance.

As far as the properties of carbon ink are concerned, these are viscosity, thixotropy, and liquidity.

  • Viscosity is the internal friction of liquid. It is also called the mechanical resistance of the liquid within its different layers. Its strength is always larger in a thick liquid than in a thin liquid. It is observed that temperature has a very important role in viscosity.
  • Thixotropy is also called the physical property of a liquid a liquid can restore its original structure or viscosity characteristics. It helps the liquid to reconstitute its internal structure. Thixotropic ink is considered better for screen printing.
  • Liquidity is the degree of ink’s external force. It is the most important property for printing. It is reciprocal of viscosity.

Carbon ink circuit surfaces must have good viscosity stability for warmer climates and require good printing properties to give even coverage over the copper button pads.

Carbon ink printing on PCB is a simple procedure of screen printing. The easy plating process together with the cheaper ink itself makes the carbon ink PCB a cost-effective circuit board for engineers.

PCB carbon ink

Carbon Ink PCB vs. Hard Gold

Hard gold and carbon ink are two options for PCB surfaces. Hard gold is an expensive surface, which can be replaced by continuous carbon ink for applications requiring less precision to achieve significant savings in production costs.

PCBONLINE - Reliable Carbon Ink PCB Manufacturer

PCBONLINE, a leading advanced PCB manufacturer, provides one-stop carbon ink PCB manufacturing for the above applications. Why we are your reliable carbon ink PCB manufacturer? Here you can take a look at what we can do:

Carbon to Carbon
Carbon to Pad
Carbon to Line
Carbon Ink Side
Ink Type
Single or Double Sided

PCBONLINE provides single-sided, double-sided, high-resistance, and multilayer carbon ink PCBs. Besides, we can manufacture thick-copper and flexible PCBs with carbon masks. Send us your Gerber files, and enjoy fantastic carbon ink PCB manufacturing and one-to-one engineering support now!

fpc with carbon ink pad


This article tells you what carbon ink PCB is, and you can also learn about conductive carbon ink. If you or your company are in want of carbon ink PCB, do not miss PCBONLINE.


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