Laminates are manufactured by curing under pressure and temperature layers of cloth or paper with thermoset resin to form an integral final piece of uniform thickness. The size can be up to 4 by 8 feet (1.2 by 2.4 m) in width and length. Varying cloth weaves (threads per inch or cm), cloth thickness, and resin percentage are used to achieve the desired final thickness and dielectric characteristics. Available standard laminate thickness are listed in ANSI/IPC-D-275.
Often encountered materials:
FR-2 , phenolic paper or phenolic cotton paper, paper impregnated with a phenol formaldehyde resin. Common in consumer electronics with single-sided boards. Electrical properties inferior to FR-4. Poor arc resistance. Generally rated to 105 °C.
FR-4 , a woven fiberglass cloth impregnated with an epoxy resin. Low water absorption (up to about 0.15%), good insulation properties, good arc resistance. Very common. Several grades with somewhat different properties are available. Typically rated to 130 °C.
Aluminum, or metal core board or insulated metal substrate (IMS), clad with thermally conductive thin dielectric - used for parts requiring significant cooling - power switches, LEDs. Consists of usually single, sometimes double layer thin circuit board based on e.g. FR-4, laminated on aluminum sheet metal, commonly 0.8, 1, 1.5, 2 or 3 mm thick. The thicker laminates sometimes also come with thicker copper metalization.
Flexible substrates - can be a standalone copper-clad foil or can be laminated to a thin stiffener, e.g. 50-130 µm
Kapton or UPILEX, a polyimide foil. Used for flexible printed circuits, in this form common in small form-factor consumer electronics or for flexible interconnects. Resistant to high temperatures.
Pyralux, a polyimide-fluoropolymer composite foil.Copper layer can delaminate during soldering.
Less-often encountered materials:
FR-1, like FR-2, typically specified to 105 °C, some grades rated to 130 °C. Room-temperature punchable. Similar to cardboard. Poor moisture resistance. Low arc resistance.
FR-3, cotton paper impregnated with epoxy. Typically rated to 105 °C.
FR-5, woven fiberglass and epoxy, high strength at higher temperatures, typically specified to 170 °C.
FR-6, matte glass and polyester
G-10, woven glass and epoxy - high insulation resistance, low moisture absorption, very high bond strength. Typically rated to 130 °C.
G-11, woven glass and epoxy - high resistance to solvents, high flexural strength retention at high temperatures.Typically rated to 170 °C.
CEM-1, cotton paper and epoxy
CEM-2, cotton paper and epoxy
CEM-3, non-woven glass and epoxy
CEM-4, woven glass and epoxy
CEM-5, woven glass and polyester
PTFE, ( "Teflon") - expensive, low dielectric loss, for high frequency applications, very low moisture absorption (0.01%), mechanically soft. Difficult to laminate, rarely used in multilayer applications.
PTFE, ceramic filled - expensive, low dielectric loss, for high frequency applications. Varying ceramics/PTFE ratio allows adjusting dielectric constant and thermal expansion.
RF-35, fiberglass-reinforced ceramics-filled PTFE. Relatively less expensive, good mechanical properties, good high-frequency properties.
Alumina, a ceramic. Hard, brittle, very expensive, very high performance, good thermal conductivity.
Polyimide, a high-temperature polymer. Expensive, high-performance. Higher water absorption (0.4%). Can be used from cryogenic temperatures to over 260 °C.