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01.What Are Flexible Circuits?

A: They consist of conductive strips of metal, usually copper, encapsulated with an insulating dielectric material made of polyimide or a solder mask. Polyimide is an excellent insulator that allows the circuit to bend, resist contamination and withstand high temperatures.

02.Where Did Flex Circuits Originate?

A: The flexible circuit(Flexible PCB) has just recently come of age as an interconnection device, although it was originally developed over twenty years ago.

Designers of applications from car stereos and cameras, to heart pacemakers and disk drives, have all reaped the benefits of flex circuits. More applications are being discovered every day.

The flexible circuit was originally designed as a replacement for bulky wire harnesses. Simple circuit designs helped to solve space and weight problems that could not be resolved using traditional wiring methods.

As technology advanced in leaps and bounds, new products required more compact packaging, minutely defined electrical impedances, and error-free product performance. Flexible circuitry gave the package engineer ways to miniaturize circuits, increase functional capacity, and improve reliability.

In addition to being flexible, flex circuits(Flex PCB) can be designed to meet highly complex special con figurations, and hostile operating environments are easily withstood by flex.

New products demand savings in space and weight with greater reliability. Because of these demands, the twenty-year-old technology of flexible circuits has come of age.

03. What Makes Up A Flexible Circuit Board?

A: A basic flexible circuit(Flexible PCB) is made of a flexible polymer film laminated to a thin sheet of copper that is etched to produce a circuit pattern.

Patterns can be created on both sides of the film. Interconnections are achieved with plated through-holes, yielding an almost unlimited adaptability between various component parts. A polymer overcoat is often added to insulate and environmentally seal the circuit.

Flexible circuits can also combine several single- or double-sided circuits with complex interconnections, shielding, and surface mounted devices in a multi-layer design. These multi-layer designs can also be combined with rigid circuit boards to create a rigid/flex circuit capable of supporting devices as needed.

The most widely used polyimide film is KAPTON®, because of its high heat resistance, dimensional stability, dielectric strength, and flexural capability. The characteristics of this raw material help the flex circuit maintain a high degree of durability, and also help it survive hostile environments.

04. What Benefits Will I Get From Using Flexible Circuits?

A: Flexible circuits provide four major benefits over rigid PC boards.

Design Freedom The most immediate benefit that flexible circuits(Flex PCB) give a package designer is an almost unlimited degree of design freedom. Flex circuits can fit in tight spaces. They can bend, fold, twist, change in width many times and even flex from a rolled configuration. This gives the package designer the freedom to relocate other parts and subassemblies where they will optimize circuit and equipment operation. The designer is no longer restricted by the space demands of bulky, rigid PC boards.

05. What’s New With Flexible Circuits?

A: Advances in surface mount technology, mounting devices directly on circuits, have led to exceptional space and cost savings. KAPTON’s excellent thermal stability provides a better base for surface mounting than hard boards. Because the compliant base film places less stress on soldered joints, thermal mismatch is less likely to occur.

With conductive adhesives, surface mount chips can be mounted on double-sided flex circuits. This eliminates the problem of soldering one device on a hard board, then soldering again on the other side, disturbing the previous connection.

Tape automated bonding (TAB) is another space-saving technology for which flex is ideal. Because KAPTON film can be etched so accurately, windows can be placed on the flex circuit to hold devices. The devices can then he soldered into place with TAB.

06. What Types of Flexible Printed Circuits Are Available?

There are four basic types of flexible circuits, varying in degrees of complexity. These three types of circuits can be used in different combinations to solve most every interconnection design problem.

The simplest circuits are single-sided flexible circuits. They provide maximum flexibility for dynamic applications and can withstand hundreds of millions of flex cycles These simple circuits are also the most easily adaptable to SMT, TAB, and other developments in circuit technology.

Double-sided circuits are somewhat limited in their capacity to flex because of a thicker, more complex level of design. The ability to interconnect between sides using through-hole plating helps double-sided circuits carry complex designs, and still maintain flexibility

Multilayer circuits are ideal for complex, highly populated design requirements. Large numbers of conductors can be designed into a small package. Flexibility may be somewhat limited, de pending on the number of layers in the design. These multi-layer circuits are ideal for rigid/flex designs, combining a multilayer flex circuit with a hard board.

Multilayer circuits are the ideal problem-solving technology when confronted with design challenges like unavoidable crossovers, specific impedance requirements, elimination of crosstalk in sensitive circuits, additional shielding or ground planes, and high component density.

Rigid-Flex circuits are circuits combination of Rigid circuit and Flex circuits. So it have both the advantage of each other and it’s newest types used in various applications.

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