Different industries or businesses that use PCBs are satisfied to use standardized flame retardant board material. For various applications, flame retardant boards are cost-effective and efficient. However, there are other types of material for printed circuit boards in addition to FR-4 boards. There may be other types of boards that are a perfect fit for specific programs.
Polyimide is one potential material for a board. Printed circuit board material that is made of polyimides has some properties that work well with board applications in your industry. You can choose the best PCB material before placing an order if you are just getting started.
If you’re not sure if polyamide/polyimide circuit boards are right for you, read on to find out more about their properties and what impact they have on your applications.
What is Polyimide Flexible PCB?
Imide monomers make up the polymers called polyamides/polyimides. Natural and synthetic materials make up this diverse collection of polymers. Wool and silk are examples of natural polyamides. Printed circuit boards, on the other hand, are made with boards made up of synthetic materials.
The polymerization of different compounds with imide molecules yields artificial polyimides. The process typically makes use of maleic anhydride and bismaleimides. The procedure can produce different polyimides with a variety of advantages because of the numerous chemicals and additions utilized. The following are a few examples:
- Two-generation polyimides, or pure polyimides, are free of additives and flame retardants. Consequently, they are more temperature-resistant and thermally stable as compared to other alternatives available today.
- 3rd Generation Polyimides: These polyimides have additives that make them more resistant to flammability and are helpful in stopping electrical fires. Due to the shorter curing times and lower temperatures required, despite having lower thermal stability, these polyimides have faster production times.
- Filled Polyimide: Both fillers and polyimides make up filled polyimide systems. Although the polyimide provides the required flexibility and thermal resistance, the filler reduces resin shrinkage, reducing crack formation during drilling and curing.
- Low-Flow Polyimides: Different flow restrictors, as well as resins, reduce the material’s flexibility in these polyimides.
It is anticipated that additional polyimide variants will gain popularity over time. Polyimides of the fourth generation, for instance, are currently being developed, and they have the potential to enhance the adhesion of copper foil, moisture sensitivity, and stability.
When Should Polyimide Flexible PCB Use?
Due to the material’s flexibility and strength, the products made up of polyimides are most demandable and preferable throughout the industry. However, polyamides are preferred for more reasons than just this.
It is essential to select the material which is most appropriate for the application when selecting a PCB base material. If the following printed circuit board features are required, polyamides are the best possible option:
- Excellent Flexibility: Because it is so flexible, the material composed of polyimide is most oftentimes used to make rigid-flex and flexible PCBs.
- Good Tensile-Strength: The materials composed of polyimide are extremely durable, and they are resistible to warping, despite their flexibility. Because of this, it is an excellent option for each application that needs some physical durability.
- High Thermal Stability: Ranging to different temperatures, polyimides are extremely stable. They can operate at temperatures as high as 260° Celsius, which is normally inhospitable. Because of their high thermal conductivity, they can also withstand temperature loss throughout the repair and fabrication procedures.
- Chemical Resistance: Due to the chemical stability of polyimides, they can withstand a wide range of harmful chemicals, and they have no adverse effects of experiencing. Applications that have chemical exposure and chemical resistance play an important part there.
- Highly Durable: Printed circuit boards are made of polyimide and have high resistance towards physical pressures, in addition to their resistance to chemicals and heat. They are ideal for applications involving severe environments and field repairs. As a result, they will keep their shape no matter what thermal or physical conditions they have. In addition, polyimides have the suitable electrical characteristics to be an excellent printed circuit board material.
Major Applications Of Polyimide Flexible PCB Material
Naturally and synthetically made polyamides are utilized in numerous applications. Consumer goods, automobiles, and clothing all contain these materials. They probably play a significant role in PCBs, though.
The PCB industry has utilized rigid-flex and flexible polyamide boards in numerous ways. Here are some examples:
- Computer Electronics: To resist the physical pressures of daily life, computer environments, particularly laptops, need to be adaptable and durable. Further, the operating conditions of computer PCBs can reach extremely high temperatures. Rigid-flex and flexible polyamide circuit boards are durable, flexible, and thermally stable. Hence they are ideal for these applications.
- Automotive Electronics: Electronics play a big role in today’s automobiles, and flexible PCBs are often used to deal with the heat and vibrations that come with driving.
- Consumer Electronics: Due to the demands of daily usage, consumer electronics such as tablets or smartphones frequently use flexible/ rigid-flex printed circuit boards. PCBs made from flexible materials are being developed for future consumer-electronics like flexible tablets and smartphones.
- Medical Electronics: Electronics used in different medical applications need to be able to move around, especially when it comes to things like prosthetics, imaging technology, or implants.
- Military & Aerospace Electronics: Because Polyamides are flexible, thermally stable, and reliable, they are commonly used for PCBs in military and aerospace applications. These industries are characterized by both physical stressors and frequent field repairs, which make other materials less suitable. A wide range of applications can benefit from polyamide’s flexibility, strength, durability, and thermal properties.
Both the use of rigid-flex FPCBs and multilayer FPCBs are expanding exponentially. The global market for flexible, polyimide printed circuit boards may have experienced significant expansion as a result of this detailed fact. Over the next ten years, there will be several highly profitable growth niches as demand for automation in everyday appliances, IoT, and robotics grows.
Additionally, the market will expand as circuit material, and fabrication technology continues to advance. It’s a great time to put money into a new technology with great potential for high returns. Now would be a good time to give it some thought if you haven’t already. Find a niche in this lucrative market.