Can Green Boards Really Measure Up?
When it comes to material properties, environmentally friendly options are not quite there. However, further research into material options should yield advances in these arenas. As bio-based PCB options grow, they can help us solve the problem of e-waste and electronics recycling. In this article, EPCB lists 3 top advantages why we use green boards.
Mechanical Properties - The mechanical performance of “green” boards is a real concern. Even if your board is made from banana fibers, you don’t want it to be as weak as a leaf. Biomaterials in their current forms do not quite stack up against FR4 when it comes to strength. However, researchers are now moving into combining substrates materials, and expect to get boards with similar physical properties.
Thermal Properties - Thermal performance is another serious concern. You don’t want your board to catch fire during solder reflow or operation. Biomaterial substrates do have lower temperature thresholds than FR4, but low-temperature solders make manufacturing possible. As far as operation goes, one study using banana fibers operated successfully at 45 C. That’s still a bit low, but good thermal design and further research should push up the temperature range.
Dielectric Constants - Dielectric constants are a big concern as they are becoming more important in high-frequency circuits. This is an area where biodegradable boards compete on the same level as traditional boards. The same banana fiber study achieved dielectric constants between 2 and 36, well within the required range. In fact, the wide range of biomaterials should enable designers to choose between a greater range of dielectric constants for their circuits.