Blog  /  Polyimide PCB: What It Is, Types, and Benefits

Polyimide PCB: What It Is, Types, and Benefits

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?

 

Polyimide Board

Source: Pixabay  

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

 

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

Source: Pixabay  

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

Source: Pixabay  

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.

Low-Flow Polyimides

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

 

Filled Polyimide Film Material

Source: Picryl.com  

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:

Extreme Durability

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.

Stable Flexibility

In truth, polyimide has remarkable flexibility. Hence, many manufacturers use polyimide material to generate rigid-flex and flexible printed circuit boards.

Polyamide PCB:Printed circuit boards 

Printed circuit boards 

 

Chemical Resistant

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:

Medical Industry

  • Magnetic resonance imaging equipment
  • Flex and rigid-flex interconnects for sensitive equipment
  • Ultrasound equipment

Industrial Equipment

Automotive Industry

Telecommunication Equipment

  • Phone switching systems
  • Cell towers

 

Polyamide PCB
 
  • VoIP devices (Voice over Internet Protocol)

 

Polyamide PCB

 

Consumer Products

 

Microwaves
 
  • Video game consoles
  • Televisions

 

Military Applications and Aerospace Industry

 

  • FADEC (full authority engine control systems)
  • Power distribution 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.

FR4 PCB

FR4 PCB

 

Further, the heat and chemical resistance of the polyimide is better than the FR4. In addition, the FR4 is cheaper than the polyimide.

Polyamide PCB

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:

 

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.