FR-4 A Common Material for Printed Circuit Boards PCBs
FR-4 (or FR4) is a NEMA grade designation for glass-reinforced epoxy laminate material. FR-4 is a composite material composed of woven fiberglass cloth with an epoxy resin binder that is flame resistant (self-extinguishing).
“FR” stands for flame retardant, and denotes that the material complies with the standard UL94V-0. The designation FR-4 was created by NEMA in 1968.
FR-4 glass epoxy is a popular and versatile high-pressure thermoset plastic laminate grade with good strength to weight ratios. With near zero water absorption, FR-4 is most commonly used as an electrical insulator possessing considerable mechanical strength. The material is known to retain its high mechanical values and electrical insulating qualities in both dry and humid conditions. These attributes, along with good fabrication characteristics, lend utility to this grade for a wide variety of electrical and mechanical applications.
Grade designations for glass epoxy laminates are: G-10, G-11, FR-4, FR-5 and FR-6. Of these, FR-4 is the grade most widely in use today. G-10, the predecessor to FR-4, lacks FR-4’s self-extinguishing flammability characteristics. Hence, FR-4 has since replaced G-10 in most applications.
FR-4 epoxy resin systems typically employ bromine, a halogen, to facilitate flame-resistant properties in FR-4 glass epoxy laminates. Some applications where thermal destruction of the material is a desirable trait will still use G-10 non flame resistant.