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Application: Design guidelines to improve the flexibility and reliability of flexible circuits.
Many of the issues that arise when using a flex circuit come from a lack of knowledge about how to properly design one, especially when the circuit is required to bend. Many novices will design a circuit that calls for bending the flex in too tight of a bend radius, which can cause damage to the circuit and lower the reliability of the end product. This series of articles will focus on the seven key aspects to consider when designing for maximum durability and maximum “flexibility”. It is important to know that because flexibility is a relative term this study will instead use the term reducing bend radius. Below are two of the seven design strategies. Please see Part I and Part III for more tips!
3. Do not allow electroless copper as a seed layer prior to plating vias.
- Also, an area to be concerned about is the type of plating your vendor uses. Some copper plating requires a seed layer of electroless copper. This seed layer becomes an ED copper layer and can lead to conductor cracking. For a tight bend radius direct metallization is the preferred plating method.
4. Use only Polyimide covers in the flexing area.
- There are two options for applying dielectric material over copper:
A. Polyimide cover material: This is the preferred material in areas where parts will be bent. As a general rule, you will want to specify a dielectric thickness and adhesive thickness separately. A rule of thumb is that for every 1 ounce of copper thickness there is 1 mil of adhesive thickness.
B. Flexible Solder Mask: Flexible solder mask has a minimum bend radius of 0.4” and is not recommended for any dynamic flexing application or application where the bend radius will be tighter than 0.4”
04/29/2021 | I-Connect007 Editorial Team
Mark Thompson has been in bare board fabrication for over 30 years. He is now laying out printed circuit boards at Monsoon Solutions, a high-tech design bureau near Seattle, Washington. With Mark’s extensive hands-on knowledge of PCB manufacturing, he brings a unique perspective to PCB design. In this discussion with the I-Connect007 editorial team, Mark shares what’s important from a process engineer’s point of view, and how to stay on top of evaluating and benchmarking your manufacturing process, along with insights from his new role as a designer.
04/26/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
Nolan Johnson speaks with Michael Gay of Isola and Chris Hunrath of Insulectro about the release of their new halogen-free, high-thermal reliability material, which they hope fills the gap in the market between epoxies and polyimides.
04/26/2021 | Pete Starkey, I-Connect007
EIPC’s seventh Technical Snapshot webinar on April 14 was timely and appropriate. In the context of current supply chain issues and material price pressures facing the PCB industry, particularly in Europe, the EIPC team brought together an outstanding group of experts—each a leading authority in his field—to analyse and comment upon the areas of concern and to respond to questions raised by a capacity audience. As Alun Morgan said, “If you don’t use the European supply chain, you won’t have it anymore!”