Why Is Copper Used In Printed Circuit Boards?

A printed circuit board, commonly known as a PCB, is created with either one layer or multiple layers and includes the substrate, traces, solder mask and silkscreen. On printed circuit boards, you will find copper elements, which are called traces, and these will carry the electrical signals to the various components located across the PCB.

Copper Used In PCB

If there were none of these traces in place, then the printed circuit board would not work and so these are absolutely critical when it comes to the design of your board. No working printed circuit boards means that any electrical item that has to transfer data would not work.

To make these traces, copper is the most popular material of choice within this industry. But why is this the case? Here, we are taking you through why copper is the preferred choice of material to be used in printed circuit boards.

The Benefits of Using Copper

Copper - Chemical element

The main reason why copper is the most used material when it comes to making printed circuit boards is that it is highly conductive. When a material is highly conductive, this means that it will be able to transmit signals but will not lose its electricity as it moves along.

This also means that manufacturers can keep costs low as they do not need a lot of copper to make the printed circuit boards, they only need a small amount to ensure that it is in good working order.

The most common configuration for a printed circuit board is using an ounce of copper which can then be transformed into 35 micrometres which is around 1.4 thousandths of an inch thick.  This can cover a whole square foot of the PCB substrate.

Another reason why copper is the preferred material for printed circuit boards is that it is readily inexpensive for these companies to buy, plus it is always readily available, so you do not need to worry about your supply chain for making these printed circuit boards.

Why Does The Copper Weight And Thickness Matter? 

With the design of a printed circuit board, the copper thickness is incredibly important. The thickness and the width are what determine the amount of current that the circuit can carry and the PCB copper thickness guidelines are used in impedance calculations of high speed and RF circuity.

The weight of the copper is also evenly spread out across one square foot. The PCB fabricator will the plate up the base weight to the final weight specified by the customer.

The base copper weight is also important as it will provide the achievable trace and space width dimensions which affect the density of features and the recommended minimum widths of the annular rings.

As you can see, there are lots of great benefits to using copper in PCB boards and this is why they are the preferred choice with this design.

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