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Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress




A PCB is sort of like a layer cake or lasagna- there are alternating layers of different materials which are laminated together with heat and adhesive such that the result is a single object.


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The base material, or substrate, is usually fiberglass. Historically, the most common designator for this fiberglass is “FR4”. This solid core gives the PCB its rigidity and thickness. There are also flexible PCBs built on flexible high-temperature plastic (Kapton or the equivalent).

You will find many different thickness PCBs

Perf board


Cheaper PCBs and perf boards (shown above) will be made with other materials such as epoxies or phenolics which lack the durability of FR4 but are much less expensive. These types of substrates are also typically found in low-end consumer electronics. Phenolics have a low thermal decomposition temperature which causes them to delaminate, smoke and char when the soldering iron is held too long on the board.