Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) – What Different Types Are Available

Over the years, printed circuit boards (PCBs) have revolutionized the electronics industry. The impact created by these components is so large that it is difficult to imagine an electronic device without them. With all advanced technologies insight, the PCB industry is growing faster than ever before. Owing to their distinct beneficial features, they find their use in a wide range of applications, where they serve as the base for the devices. Most of the circuit boards are designed for simple and regular use electronic devices, whereas the advanced devices may require multilayered and dense circuit boards, depending upon the design complexity. PCBs come with different formats that have their manufacturing properties and advantages. Would you like to know the different types of printed circuit boards?

A Guide to PCB Types and Their Applications

Various types of printed circuit boards that are differentiated on the basis of their layers, designs, and material types.

The following are some important ones.

  • Single-Sided PCBs: A single-sided circuit board contains a single layer of the substrate, which is coated with a thin conductor layer, usually copper which assures the best electrical conductivity. Typically, a protective solder mask is applied on top of the copper layer and a silkscreen coating is applied to mark different elements of the circuit board for easy identification. Single-sided boards are easy to manufacture and they are used in various regular use applications such as digital camera circuits, radio and stereo equipment, photocopy and printing machines, vending machine circuits, and so on.
  • Double-Sided PCBs: Unlike single-layer, double-layer printed circuit boards have metal conductive layers and components on both sides. In these printed circuit boards, the components are usually surface mounted or connected using a through-hole technique. Double-layered boards are widely used in applications such as vending machines, amplifiers, HVAC systems, automotive dashboards, LED lighting, and more.
  • Multi-layer PCBs: Multilayer PCBs are an advanced versions of double-sided boards. They have more layers on both sides than double-sided PCBs. As the name suggests, these circuit boards possess several layers of the substrate with insulating layers. The multiple layers incorporated on these circuit board designs. Multi-layer circuit boards also utilize through-hole technology or surface mounting technique to connect components on both sides. Multilayer PCBs are used in GPS driven devices, data storage devices, weather analysis systems, and satellite systems.

An Overview on Important Types of Printed Circuit Boards

The following are a few important types of PCBs used today.

  • Rigid PCBs: Rigid PCBs are named so because they are made of inflexible, solid substrate materials. Fiberglass is the most commonly used materials. The rigid printed circuit board once manufactured cannot be modified or altered during the life span of the device. The boards help improve the lifetime of components and are less prone to damages due to their strength. One good example of a rigid printed circuit board is a computer motherboard, which allocates power supply while allowing communications between other parts of the computer, including GPU, RAM, and CPU.
  • Flexible PCBs: Flexible printed circuit boards offer better flexibility as they are made out of materials that can move and flex. Like rigid printed circuit boards, flexible PCBs are available in single, double or multilayer formats. Flexible circuit boards are developed from materials that are resistant to corrosion, moisture, oils, temperature, and impact. Flex boards are used in a wide range of applications such as cellular telephones, laptops, cameras, LEDs, LCD fabrication and more.
  • Rigid-Flex PCBs: The rigid-flex circuit boards combine both the rigid and flex circuit board configuration on a single board. This provides both rigidity and flexibility to the PCB. A simple and easy rigid-flex circuit board comprises of rigid circuit board that is attached to a flex circuit board. Rigid-flex board can have a compact design and its lightweight feature makes it an ideal choice for many applications, including cell phones, digital cameras, pacemakers, and so on.
  • Metal Core PCBs: Metal-core printed circuit boards, abbreviated as MCPCBs, are an excellent alternative to FR4 or CEM3 boards. The PCBs utilize a copper core or an aluminum core. The aluminum substrate has good heat transferring and dissipation characteristics, whereas the copper substrate is relatively expensive has better performance than aluminum.

The above-mentioned are a few important types of printed circuit boards available for consideration. If you are confused about the right type of PCB for your upcoming application, then it is better to take advice from an industry expert. Accelerated Assemblies is one of the well-known manufacturers of PCBs in the US. Whether you need a single layer or an extremely complex multi-layer PCB, Accelerated Assemblies can make it possible with a vast PCB manufacturing experience. The expert team at Accelerated Assemblies help the clients to select from different types of circuit boards while meeting their needs. We offer fabrication services for varieties of PCBs – all from flexible to metal core PCBs.