If you're an engineer or manufacturer that frequently works with PCBs, you'd agree that most people use FR4 PCBs. However, in recent times, Polyimide PCBs have become one alternative option most people prefer. Why? Because of its grade of material and unique characteristics, it stands out as an upgrade to FR4. So, it's not a surprise that many tech companies are shifting their attention to this type of board material.
Hence, we're going to define Polyimide PCB.
Let's get started.
What is Polyimide PCB?
Indeed, a polyimide PCB is a circuit board made with Polyimide material—a flexible material. Also, this material is ideal for flex and flex/rigid circuit boards. Plus, they have synthesized plastics with high-temperature stability and unique strength features.
Types of Polyimide PCB
Source: Wikimedia Commons
So, here are some of the most common types of polyimide PCBs:
2nd Generation or Pure Polyimide
Pure Polyimide Film material
In truth, pure polyimide is one of the simplest polyimide PCBs. And it doesn't have extra features like the brominated flame retardants. But that's a good thing because lacking the flame retardant makes it pretty stable.
Also, it's pretty flexible. So, you can use this PCB for varying communication and electrical devices. Further, you can also refer to it as a polyimide flex PCB, thanks to its flexibility.
No doubt, pure polyimide is one of the oldest types of Polyimide PCB. Hence, it has strong resistance against thermal stability, temperature change, etc.
3rd Generation Polyimide
3rd Generation Polyimide Film Material
In short, the third-generation polyimide is more like an updated second-generation version. `In addition, this PCB comes with extra additives—flame retardants.
Consequently, it helps stop accidental electric fires. But it doesn't have thermal stability like the second generation polyimide. Hence, it's pretty easy to produce. Indeed, manufacturers consider it the most accessible polyimide PCB to produce. Plus, you can have it in bulk.
The low-flow polyimide lacks the standard PCB flexibility. So, this type of polyimide PCB comes in handy when you need a stiff variant that can resist harsh conditions.
So, in other words, the low-flow polyimides are a suitable replacement for traditional flexible PCBs that fail.
Filled Polyimide Film Material
Indeed, the filled polyimide consists of multiple filler materials. Also, it's similar to multilayer PCBs. Hence, the filled polyimide usually has an extra filler that helps to reduce resin shrinkage.
Moreover, this feature is vital because many printed circuit boards tend to crack or become frail during drilling.
Also, the resin shrinkage protects the PCB from curing proceedings and maximizes long-term usage.
Benefits of Polyimide PCB
Asides from the outstanding flexibility and strength of a polyimide PCB, it has other benefits like:
Regardless of the thermal and physical conditions, you subject these PCBs to; they will maintain their shapes. In truth, polyimide PCBs have a high resistance to physical stress. So, this type of PCB is best suited for applications that involve field repairs and harsh environments.
Remarkable Thermal Stability
If you subject polyimide PCBs to a wide range of temperatures, they remain stable. In other words, these PCBs can support operations that involve temperatures up to 260℃.
Also, thanks to its thermal conductivity, the polyimide can resist thermal damage during repair and production processes.
Printed circuit boards
Polyimide PCBs have chemical stability. In other words, you can expose the polyimide PCBs to different corrosive chemicals. Also, PCBs won't have adverse effects. So, you can use these PCBs in applications that involve exposure to chemicals.
Superb Tensile Strength
The polyimide has remarkable tensile strength. That is, the polyimide PCBs can support a maximum load without fracture when you stretch it. Also, it's solid and resilient to warping.
Hence, polyimide materials are best suited for applications that need a reasonable amount of physical durability.
Polyimide PCB Applications
Many industries use rigid polyimide and low-flexible PCBs in the following applications:
- Magnetic resonance imaging equipment
- Flex and rigid-flex interconnects for sensitive equipment
- Ultrasound equipment
- High-power motor controllers
- DC-AC power inverters
- Solar power cogeneration equipment
- ADAS vehicle systems
- Engine management systems
- ABS (Antilock Braking Systems)
- Phone switching systems
- Cell towers
- VoIP devices (Voice over Internet Protocol)
- Video game consoles
Military Applications and Aerospace Industry
- FADEC (full authority engine control systems)
- Power distribution systems
- Communication and Defense navigation systems
- Electronic flight instrumentation systems
- Digitized signal and microwave processing systems
Differences Between FR4 and Polyimide PCB
Here are the differences between FR4 and polyimide PCB.
First off, FR4 is rigid compared to the polyimide material. And that's because the former consists of laminated copper & epoxy glass resin.
Further, the heat and chemical resistance of the polyimide is better than the FR4. In addition, the FR4 is cheaper than the polyimide.
Source: Wikimedia Commons
That said, the table below will give you a better understanding of the difference between the FR4 and polyimide-based on their properties and specifications:
Where Can I Get Polyimide PCB?
Polyimide PCB is undoubtedly a great alternative to FR4 PCB because of its sturdiness and tensile strength.
So, when opting for a polyimide PCB, reliability and quality are two things to consider. Plus, your PCB should have remarkable thermal resistance and flexibility.
That's why you can rely on OurPCB to meet your needs in this regard. Also, with us, you can only get quality polyimide PCB with the highest-quality polymer. Plus, our FR4 circuit boards aren't left out—as you'll get what you order.
Hence, you can also order a customized variety for the aerospace industry. Feel free to reach us today.