TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Can phenolic paper laminates be used for manufacturing CCL?

2021-08-18 13:11  |  By: ZTELEC  |  139click

A customer recently inquired if it's possible to use the copper clad laminates (hereinafter abbreviated to CCL) made of phenolic paper laminates to manufacture PCB of LED signs.

It’s technically possible that phenolic paper-based CCL is used for manufacturing LED lights. But if the power of LED lights is too high, it’s not a good match. We suggest using FR-4 as the basal sheet.

It is well known that CCL consists of the basal material, copper foil and adhesive. However, many customers are not familiar with the basal materials that can be used for CCL. Basal materials of CCL are complicated in composition. Polymer synthetic resins and reinforcing materials can be used as basal materials for CCL. The properties of CCL based on different materials vary greatly.

According to the mechanical properties of CCL, it can be divided into two categories: rigid copper clad laminates (RCCL) and flexible copper clad laminates (FCCL). The former is the larger type of CCL in the Chinese market with its market size accounting for more than 90% of the total CCL market.

picture of CCL

1. Rigid Copper Clad Laminate

The RCCL made of insulating materials as the basal sheet is manufactured by hot-pressing technology. The commonly seen RCCLs are paper-based and electronic fiberglass cloth-based.

1.1 Phenolic Paper Laminates as the Basal Sheet

The phenolic paper laminate (PFCP) is an insulating laminate made of phenolic resin as the adhesive and wood pulp cellulosic paper as the reinforcement. The phenolic paper laminate with low density is easy to be punched and processed. It is also cost-effective, usually has some simple applications like the low-end electronic products such as household appliances, toys, and lamps. However, its service temperature, heat and moisture resistance are slightly lower than epoxy fiberglass cloth laminate.

picture of phenolic paper laminates

The commonly used products of phenolic paper-based CCL are FR2 (flame retardant) and XPC (non-flame retardant).

1.2. Epoxy Fiberglass Cloth Laminates as the Basal Sheet

The epoxy fiberglass cloth laminate (EPGC) is made of electronic grade fiberglass cloth as the reinforcing material impregnated with epoxy resin. The mechanical properties, dimensional stability, and moisture resistance of EPGC are better than those of the phenolic paper laminate. EPGC has excellent electrical properties with its working temperature higher than PFCP.

EPGC is mainly used to manufacture double-sided printed circuit boards (PCB). It has a large quantity of use. The main product used as CCL’s basal sheet is FR-4 (flame retardant). FR-4 is by far the most used PCB basal sheet, with excellent mechanical, electrical and flame retardant properties. As the most ideal basal material, FR-4 is widely used in computers, communications, aerospace, industrial control and automotive, etc.

picture of FR-4

2. Flexible Copper Clad Laminate

FCCL is a strip-shaped material manufactured from polyester film or polyimide film (PI) as with their one side or two sides glued copper foil. FCCL is thin, light, and flexible. Flexible printed circuits (FPC) using FCCL as the basal film are widely used in electronic products such as cell phones, digital cameras, LCD TVs, and notebook computers.

picture of PI film

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