Nelco PCB: Its Impacts in High-Frequency Applications

The fabrication of a PCB involves the use of different types of materials. Nelco materials are one of such materials. The type of material used for a circuit board determines its functionality. Therefore, it is important to select and use the right materials for your board. The Nelco PCB material is ideal for high-frequency and high-performance boards.

What is Nelco PCB?

This is a type of PCB fabricated with Nelco materials. These materials offer great thermal and mechanical performance. A Nelco PCB is ideal for multilayer and high speed digital PCBs. Also, all Nelco boards feature high thermal reliability and high CAF resistance. Furthermore, these boards comply to the RoHS standard.

Nelco PCBs offer conductive anodic filament (CAF) resistance for lead-free assembly. Also, Nelco PCBs are widely used in high-speed digital applications. These boards have proved to e one of the most efficient PCB materials in the industry.


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Properties of Nelco PCBs

Nelco PCB features great thermal and mechanical properties. This board is suitable for applications that require signal integrity and precise impedance control. The main properties of Nelco PCBs include:

Lead-free assembly compatibility

Nelco materials are suitable for assemblies with a 245°C reflow temperature. However, the reflow temperature can increase to 260°C. This depends on the construction and design processing.

High and loss speed

Nelco PCB has low dielectric constant and dissipation factor. Therefore, this allows it to have low signal distortion and fast signal propagation. This is suitable for high-frequency and high-performance applications. Also, this PCB is ideal for applications within the range of 1-10GHz frequency.

Great thermal stability

Nelco boards maintain great thermal stability. This property explains the ability of Nelco material to resist heat.  Also, the glass transition temperature is above 210 °C.

Conductive anodic filament (CAF) resistant

This property makes Nelco boards ideal for RF and digital applications. Also, it provides long-term dependability for these applications.

Wide range of constructions

This PCB is available in different constructions. Also, these constructions vary from copper weights to glass styles. Furthermore, they are available as a 2 mil system.


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Quality Control in Nelco PCB

To maintain quality control in Nelco PCB, there are certain ways to do it. Manufacturers adopt several analytical methods to test the mechanical and chemical properties of Nelco boards. Below are quality control tests for these boards:

Thermo-gravimetric analysis

This analysis helps to determine the loss of weight when heating Nelco PCB material. Also, this heating occurs through an isothermal mode or a regulated heat up ramp.

Differential scanning calorimetry

Manufacturers employ this quality control test to access the different physical and chemical features of laminate and prepregs. Also, Differential scanning calorimetry determines the heat flow and temperature associated with Nelco material transition. It is a common thermal analysis technique used to evaluate a material’s temperature.

Infrared spectrophotometry

This creates the chemical fingerprint of a material in terms of characteristic transmission.

Thermo mechanical analysis

This type of analysis evaluates the dimensional variation in a material as it heats up. Also, it measures how the Nelco PCB material behaves at various temperatures.

How to Choose Vias for Multilayer Nelco PCBs

Different types of vias are widely used in multilayer PCBs. Also, vias offer a path through which there is a flow of electrical and thermal energy. Below are important factors you should consider for the selection of vias for a multilayer board.

Via size

The 10mil via will reduce to 7 mil immediately after plating. PCB thickness determines the size of a via. However, the Nelco PCB thickness determines micro vias.

Right technology

The type of technology a PCB manufacturer uses will determine the type of via to use. Also, ensure you make enquiry about the type of technology your manufacturer adopts.

Via tolerance

The manufacturer must indicate the tolerance of the hole size. However, Nelco PCB manufacturer provide in-house guidelines.

Annular ring

An annular ring forms after the manufacturer has drilled via the pads of each layer. Also, the annular ring provides the connection before through-hole plating.


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Factors that Affect Nelco PCB Performance

The performance and functionality of Nelco PCB depends on a number of factors.

Fiberglass weave

Manufacturers weave glass fibers to generate fiberglass panels. This helps to fabricate the fiberglass in the prepreg and core. Furthermore, manufacturers use epoxy resin to impregnate the panels. The fiberglass weaves are in different glass styles based on the type of fiberglass used. The dielectric constant of Nelco PCB will be steady if the weaving netting is rigid. Therefore, loose weaves result in less steady Dk.

PCB stackup design

This is another factor that can affect the performance of Nelco boards. A poorly designed stackup can affect signal transmission. Also, this can degrade long term dependability and power delivery of the board. It is important to consider the stackup design when fabricating a Nelco PCB.  Nelco PCB manufactures use various alternating layers of prepreg, copper foil, and core.

Glass transition temperature (Tg)

Nelco boards are vulnerable to contraction and expansion as a result of temperature changes. The rate of contraction of expansion depends on the CTE of the Nelco PCB material. When choosing a Nelco PCB material, opt for one with a high Tg that can sustain temperature cycles. Tg measures the temperature in which the resin in the PCB material increases more than the glass weave.

Applications of Nelco PCB

Nelco PCBs are widely used in applications like:

  • Wireless infrastructure and mobile phones
  • Backplanes
  • Automotive
  • Networking and communication servers
  • Mounting and packaging systems
  • Lead-free assemblies


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference between Nelco PCB and Isola PCB?

Nelco PCB utilizes prepreg materials. However, Isola PCB utilizes copper-clad dielectric prepregs.

What is the difference between Nelco boards and Taconic boards?

Nelco PCBs feature a different material when compared to Taconic PCB. Taconic PCB uses PTFE laminate as its main material. However, Nelco PCB uses various materials like FR-4 and epoxy. Also, this PCB uses materials like polyimide and cyanate ester.


Nelco boards offer a lot of excellent features and advantages. Also, these boards have proved to be very effective in several applications. Furthermore, this guide has provided important information about these boards.

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