Infineon Leverages Recycled PCB Materials for Eval and Demo Boards

An unlucky reality in regards to the electronics trade is that it has a major carbon footprint. The digital waste (e-waste) epidemic ends in thousands and thousands of tons of discarded PCBs, cables, and elements getting into landfills yearly, nearly all of which aren’t biodegradable.

What if there have been a method to create electronics that operate properly and break down cleanly? That is precisely what startup Jiva Supplies is pursuing with its Soluboard FR-4 biodegradable materials. Lately, Infineon announced that it intends to make use of Soluboard in choose analysis and demo boards shifting ahead. 


Soluboard’s plant-based PCB material

Infineon plans to make use of Soluboard’s plant-based PCB materials. Developed from pure fibers, Soluboard is alleged to have a considerably decrease carbon footprint than conventional glass-based fibers. Picture used courtesy of Infineon

What Is FR-4?

Flame Retardant 4, or FR-4, is a typical materials used to assemble printed circuit boards (PCBs). The composite materials is fabricated from woven fiberglass material impregnated with a flame-resistant epoxy resin binder and is a basic side of virtually any PCB.

FR-4 usually types the substrate or base layer upon which the assorted digital elements are mounted in a PCB. The fiberglass material gives a steady and inflexible platform, whereas the epoxy resin helps to stick the elements to the board. Conductive pathways, or traces, are then etched or printed onto the FR-4, connecting the elements and permitting electrical alerts to circulate between them.


Example of a 4-layer PCB stackup

Instance of a four-layer PCB stackup. Picture used courtesy of San Francisco Circuits

FR-4 is broadly utilized in PCBs because of materials properties that make it helpful for digital functions. These embody thermal stability, which permits it to face up to excessive temperatures, mechanical power, which provides sturdiness to a PCB, and electrical insulation, which helps separate conductive elements of a circuit and stop shorts.


FR-4’s Carbon Footprint

Whereas FR-4’s materials properties have made it a mainstay in PCB design, its environmental influence is commonly neglected.

In accordance with the World Financial Discussion board, 50 million tons of digital waste are produced globally yearly, that means that huge quantities of FR-4 find yourself in landfills. Conventional FR-4 just isn’t biodegradable. Which means the FR-4 both stays in a landfill eternally or, extra typically, is incinerated on the finish of its life, releasing toxins and greenhouse gases.

In accordance with Jiva Supplies, the carbon footprint of one square meter of PCB-grade FR-4 is 17.7 kgCO2e.


Infineon and Jiva Supplies

Jiva Supplies is taking a novel strategy to the FR-4 drawback: the corporate is changing FR-4 altogether. As a substitute, it has developed a brand new PCB core materials known as Soluboard that combines pure fibers with halogen-free polymers, leading to a core materials that’s biodegradable. Jiva Supplies claims {that a} non-toxic polymer enclosing the natural construction dissolves when immersed in sizzling water, leaving solely compostable natural materials behind. Since this core can break down, elements and copper on Soluboard-based PCBs may be simply reclaimed. 


The recovery process of a Soulboard PCB

The restoration strategy of a Soluboard PCB. Picture used courtesy of Jiva Materials

In accordance with Jiva Supplies, one sq. meter of Soluboard has a carbon footprint equal to 7.1 kgCO2e. Which means a Soluboard PCB has a 60% decrease carbon footprint than an FR-4 PCB.

To assist Jiva Materials’s efforts, Infineon has not too long ago launched Soluboard to its demo and evaluation boards. Infineon produced three totally different demo boards utilizing Soluboard know-how, and it plans to increase this portfolio within the coming years. By this collaboration, Infineon is actualizing Jiva’s product and making a optimistic influence on the electronics trade’s carbon footprint.