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What Are the Different Types of Circuit Boards and Their Specific Uses?

Types of Circuit Boards

Circuit boards, sometimes called printed circuit boards, allow electronic devices to function properly by connecting components and providing pathways for electrical currents. They are an essential component in the design and manufacturing of electronic devices, from simple children’s toys to complex mobile phones and computer systems. Different types of circuit boards have specific uses and functions depending on the complexity and purpose of the device.

The main function of a circuit board is to connect all the electronic components in a particular system. This is done by providing pathways for electrical currents to flow through the device, and the connections between these are made through various methods. Two of the most popular methods are through-hole and surface mount technology. The former involves inserting components through holes in the circuit board and soldering them, while the latter consists of attaching components to the copper pads on the surface of the board.

A circuit board is typically a dielectric composite material consisting of an epoxy resin and a substrate, often a woven fiberglass or non-woven glass fibers or even paper. In order to conduct electricity, the circuit board needs a conductive layer and a solder mask, with an insulating layer on both sides. The insulating layers are usually made of fiberglass, but other materials such as titanate ceramics can also be used. The conductive layer is made of copper or aluminum and is typically coated with a solder mask in order to protect it from oxidation.

What Are the Different Types of Circuit Boards and Their Specific Uses?

There are many different types of electronic and electrical components that can be used in a circuit board, with the most common being resistors and capacitors. A capacitor is a device that stores energy and then discharges it when an electrical signal is transmitted through the circuit, while a resistor is a 2-terminal device that increases or decreases resistance to electrical currents as the number of terminals in the package increases or decreases. Other commonly used electronic and electrical components include transistors, relays, and switches.

Several different methods are used to make a circuit board, with additive and subtractive being the most popular. With additive methods the bare copper-clad substrate is covered with a photoresist film which is exposed to light, and then chemically treated so that the areas which are not shielded from the light are capable of bonding metal ions. These are then etched to form the circuit board.

In subtractive methods the bare substrate is cut using a laser or a knife and then plated with gold, nickel, or silver to create the desired electrical connections. The copper is then etched to expose the wire patterns, and then connected through via holes, which are small filled or plated holes on the circuit board that touch each of the conductor pattern on both sides.

Lastly, the solder paste is applied to the surface of the circuit board, and the components are placed on top, where they are then heated by an oven. The heat causes the solder to melt and join with the copper traces and pads, allowing for proper connectivity between the components. The completed circuit board is then tested to ensure that all the connections are correct.

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