PCB Fabrication

What Type of PCB Substrate Material Is Right for Your PCB?


    The foundation of any PCB will offer a laminate and substrate, while the type of substrate varies depending on the fabrication of the printed circuit board. The substrate also has a direct relationship with the performance of the PCB. Always remember that the material type will determine the success or failure of your PCB. Not only that, but it also heavily impacts the characteristics of the PCB. We are the leading PCB manufacturers in the market and can suggest the best options.

    What are the types of substrate materials?

    It is extremely necessary to determine the type of board and the application of the board. Explore the ideal materials.

    FR4 (Flame Retardant)

    It is one of the most popularly used PCB substrate materials that is reinforced with glass fabric. It is soaked with flame-resistant resin and made from sheets of prepreg. It features thermal, electrical, and mechanical properties that meet industry standards. This one is just perfect for usage in high-density applications featuring a strength-to-weight ratio.

    CEM (Composite Epoxy Materials)

    CEM is an affordable replacement for the FR4 material. It is known as a composite epoxy material, and there are different types too. The CEM 1 material is ideal for single-sided boards, while the CEM 3 material is perfect for fabricating double-sided boards.

    PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene)

    Another effective substrate material is PTFE, also known as polytetrafluoroethylene, which is perfect for high-power PCBs. PTFE maintains high dielectric strength, thermal conductivity, and flexural strength at low temperatures as well. This material is versatile and is very commonly used in the defence and aerospace industries. The PTFE material is also known as an environmentally friendly material.


    Polyimide is an expensive substrate material, but it also provides better durability than FR4 in harsh environments. So you can use polyimide for higher-layer PCBs as it is resistant to multiple chemicals and is known for its strength. The plus point here is that polyimide has thermal damage resistance.


    Kapton is one of the industry standards made by Dupont. It can be used for extreme heat and vibration while maintaining mechanical properties. This is the best material to work under the harshest conditions.

    Now that you know the types of substrate materials and how well they function with high-power boards, let’s get into more depth and know how you can select the best material for your device.

    Here’s how you can choose the best PCB substrate material

    As you are now well aware of the wide variety of materials, all of which vary in strength, thickness, and cost, the task here is to understand their properties and then choose the right one.

    Below are the 4 major properties you need to know and consider while choosing the best:

    • Mechanical
    • Thermal
    • Electrical.
    • Chemical.

    Mechanical Properties

    The peel strength and flexural strength are considered mechanical properties. The tensile modulus is also another mechanical property, and thus it specifies the strength of the material on the PCB.

    Thermal Properties

    The thermal properties of a PCB determine at what rate one particular material will expand after heat exposure. Thermal conductivity rightly helps in measuring the heat transfer rate.

    Electrical Properties

    The electrical strength of the substrate material is utterly necessary. To check the signal integrity and impedance considerations, knowing the electrical conductivity is very important.

    Chemical Propertiess

    This property gives you an understanding of the moisture absorption of the chemical property and how much it could resist. Thus, moisture absorption and resistance can have a major influence on the properties of your substrate material.

    Bottom Line:

    Now that you are familiar with the type of substrate material, and how it will influence the functionality and performance of the circuit board, it is easy for you to make a choice. Differentiate and understand your circuit board to find the best-paired substrate material. I hope this might have helped you with the PCB design. That’s all for now; stay tuned for more information about the PCB industry.

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