The structure of PCBs makes it simpler for electronics manufacturing companies to integrate more designs into their products without bordering about the more wires and components sticking out.
One of the causes for concern when designing Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) is the temperature. Indeed, a PCB that has a higher temperature can be a challenge. And if you have come across one of that, you will know that the physical attributes of the circuit board can be negatively affected by the temperature.
In this article, we will teach you all you need to know about high-temperature PCB. Whether you are looking at how to calculate the temperature or how to reduce the same, we have everything covered here.
You can be confident that this is the most extensive high-temperature PCB article you will read and all the questions you may have are answered here.
What Is High-Temperature PCB?
First things first – let us consider the meaning of high temperature Printed Circuit Board (PCB). Of course, as the name suggests, you may be forced to believe that it has to do with circuit boards that have more temperature than expected.
Of course, that perspective isn’t entirely wrong, but there is more to high-temperature PCB that you need to know about.
To put it simply, a high-temperature PCB is the type of circuit board that has materials that can conveniently withstand up to 170 degrees Celsius of heat transfer.
Understandably, you may not have an idea of what this is and how it works. That is why we put in the work to provide in-depth information on the role of heat transfer in PCBs, especially as it relates to high-temperature PCBs.
The Epoxy Glass Perspective
For you to understand the need for high-temperature PCBs, we will like you to understand where it starts from, and that is from an epoxy glass.
The idea is that an epoxy glass is required at the onset because it contains polymers, which are needed for creating the base of circuit boards. That is of course after the polymers must have been melted down.
With that in mind, the next step will be to record the Tg Levels, which is a glass transition temperature that is derived when the polymers are melting.
It is on that note that the Tg Levels will be distributed for manufacturing different circuit boards depending on the needed heat transfer.
Market Demand for High-Temperature PCBs
You may be a newbie to the use of circuit boards that have a high temperature. It may also be that you have been using that type of circuit board for some time, but you are not sure if you are making the right choice.
Therefore, you need to understand the real reasons why many consumers are always looking for high-temperature PCB manufacturers instead of traditional PCB designers.
Below are some of the reasons/factors that are driving market demand for high-temperature PCBs:
The first factor that motivates consumers and electronics companies to use PCBs of high temperature is because of the costs.
Indeed, it has become clear that the costs of manufacturing regular circuit boards are almost in the same price range as the costs of manufacturing high-temperature PCBs. Therefore, it makes sense to choose the latter because it has more potentials than the traditional PCBs do.
2. Turnaround Time
The other factor is that it takes lesser time to design circuit boards of high temperatures. It is possible because there may be little or no need to modify the board, as you would have if you were to design the traditional PCBs.
The last but not the least is that the effectiveness and efficiency of the circuit board wouldn’t be in doubt.
For instance, a high-temperature PCB has higher Tg Levels, and that is the reason why the circuit board provides advanced features that aren’t readily obtainable in traditional PCBs.
How to Design High-Temperature PCB
By now, we are sure you are getting the drifts as to why circuit boards that have a higher temperature tend to stand a higher chance of adoption than the traditional PCBs.
In lieu of that, you are now looking for ways to design one of those circuit boards. We must point out here that the designing process isn’t always easy, because some proactive steps need to be taken to preserve the board.
Because of the technicalities involved, it is advised that you hire the services of an experienced high-temperature PCB manufacturer to help you design the board.
Haven said that; let us now consider some of the things that must be in place before a high-temperature circuit board can be designed.
1. Pick the Appropriate Components
Worthy of mention is that the design of a high temperature Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with the design of the traditional PCB isn’t the same.
Particularly, the difference stems from the materials used in putting the boards together. Therefore, pay special attention as we share the relevant high-temperature PCB materials that you can readily use for designing the circuit board.
The first thing we must consider is the core materials or components that will aid in the design of high-temperature PCBs.
The two most commonly used materials are:
- Polyimide and
Note: We must stress it here that the aforementioned 2 materials are basically used for designing the base of the circuit board. That implies that if there was to be a need for high-temperature uses, those materials may not withstand the heat.
In light of that, we have no other option than to go shopping for relevant materials that will optimize the base materials for long-lasting effects, especially in the face of higher temperatures.
Solder paste proves to be a veritable means of improving the temperature of circuit boards. In that case, we are looking at the possibility of sticking all the components together so they don’t fall off from the circuit board.
Heat Management Details
You must also consider information pertaining to the details of heat on the circuit board. For that to happen, you must look at the required heat management specifications on the board so you don’t make mistakes when adjusting the design to accommodate high temperatures.
As much as a circuit board with more temperature is ideal, it can also be problematic. That is why a professional high-temperature PCB manufacturer must always consider the best ways of placing the components on the circuit board.
There is no rocket science attached to this because it can be readily completed if you have an idea of what to look at how to place the same.
The general rule is that those components that tend to aggravate/create more heat on the circuit board must be separated or placed in farther distances. The reason for doing that is that more spaces will be created on the circuit board for more component placement, just as it helps to cut down on excess heat transfer.
Here are some of the components that are likely to create excess heat, and which must be spaced as fast as possible to prevent damage on the board:
- High power resistors
Causes of High Temperature on PCBs
While a high-temperature PCB can be the real deal, it seems to have a fair share of bad attributes too.
So, in this section, we are going to consider some of the factors that facilitate excess high temperature on Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).
Note that the consideration here is to highlight the reasons why it is difficult for high-temperature circuit boards to function effectively because their functionalities have been hampered by irregular heat distribution on the circuit board.
Below are some of the major causes of excessively high temperatures on Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs):
2. Poor PCB Design
Obviously, when the right designs aren’t in place, it becomes hard for the circuit board to function effectively. That informs the reason why a poor design is the first factor that reduces the efficiency of high-temperature PCB.
So, how can a poor design be the reason why the temperature of your circuit board keeps rising?
Inadequacy of the Copper Area
The first factor is that the inadequacy of the copper area or the trace width can be the first sign that the temperature of a circuit board will rise.
Most times, it can also trigger inconsistent temperature increases that can impede the viability of the circuit board.
Impeded Heat Dissipation
As much as heat is needed on a high-temperature PCB, it doesn’t have to be excess too!
For that reason, you have to consider some of the poor layout and design mechanics that could impede or reduce the speed of dissipating heat from the circuit board.
3. Non-Strategic Component Placement
The second factor that can cause the excessively high temperature on circuit boards is incorrect component placement. The idea is that if the manufacturer isn’t strategic about placing the high-temperature PCB materials in different locations, it can impede the strength of the board.
In light of that, proactive steps must be taken to ensure that some of the components that need more airflow are strategically placed where their heat will be conveniently dissipated.
Furthermore, if such high-powered components aren’t placed close to where excess heat from them can be forced out, it wouldn’t be long before such heat compounds to increase the temperature of the circuit board over time. As such, the circuit board wouldn’t take much time before it damages.
In addition to transferring away heat in good time, it is also ideal to space the components.
The rule of thumb is to space or place those components that are sensitive to be far from other components on the board that tend to emit excess heat.
4. Wrong Material Selection
You may make the mistake of selecting any high-temperature material you think is best, but which isn’t the best anyway.
Selecting a wrong PCB dielectric material implies that such material might not conveniently withstand thermal conditions when they become excessive.
5. Component Misplacement
You can also make a mistake when selecting a component for your high-temperature PCB.
Have in mind that you have to liaise with a professional high-temperature PCB manufacturer to select the best components that will be used for designing the circuit board. The best way to go about that is by studying the datasheet.
To give you a heads-up, some of the factors you must consider when selecting components for your high temperature Printed Circuit Board (PCB) include but are not limited to:
- Temperature limits
- Cooling techniques
- Method of dissipating heat/power and
- Thermal resistance
How to Measure the Temperature of High-Temperature PCB
Do you want to measure the temperature of your Printed Circuit Board (PCB)? You need to do that so you can easily identify the possible causes of the increased temperature as a way of reducing the temperature too.
Here are some of the significant PCB temperature reduction strategies you can use:
- Keep the heat source and temperature sensor at a reasonable distance
- Connect all the GND pins of the temperature sensors to the ground plane where heat emanates from.
- Ensure that you use a common ground plane between the source of heat and the temperature sensor.
How to Reduce PCB Temperature
What do you do when you find out that the temperature of your circuit board is continually increasing?
We bet you want to find ways of reducing the heat so it doesn’t negatively affect the performance of the board.
If that’s what you want to do, here are some of the strategic ways of cutting down excessive heat transfer on your high-temperature circuit board:
- Channel the built-in cooling fans to allow cool air into the circuit board while pushing out hot air.
- Implement Conduction as a way of initiating the transfer of heat by initiating direct contact between the heat sink and the heat source.
- Invest in thicker and wider plates to resist excessive heat on the high-temperature PCB.
When you have put all those factors into consideration, it will do you a world of good to use the services of a qualified and professional high-temperature PCB manufacturer to design an ideal circuit board that will be highly effective.