The Printed Circuit Board is a kind of board made out of fiberglass or silicon. The reason behind the material is that the board should not be a conductor of electricity because electrical components will be attached to it. Attach here means soldering the electrical components on the board in defined spaces. The board would also be plated with copper as to provide the flow of the electricity. Most PCB fabrication involves drilling of holes or vias to be able to connect multiple layers of copper substrates.
The printed circuit board can be found almost anywhere now. They are found where technology is available. Usually, the PCB is used for laptops and desktops for its different parts such as the motherboard, graphics card and video card. Not only that, PCBs can also be found in modern cellular phones, refrigerators, coffee makers and even washing machines. Most electronics have multiple PCBs to control all the functions of the device.
The PCB fabrication methods today haven’t been around since the 1960s. In the 1850s, the forerunners of printed circuit boards were just a kind of a connection of electrical systems wherein electric components were connected using metal strips or rods. These large electric components were then mounted on wooden bases instead of silicon or fiberglass today. As the years passed, the engineers would no longer use metal strips, and instead, the screw terminals were connected by wires. They also no longer use the wooden base because of its density, so they used metal frames instead.
As the trend of gadgets became minimalist, the engineers had to devise PCB fabrication methods which would make the printed circuit boards smaller to fit the containers of the new electronics.
The term “printed circuit” was invented by Charles Ducas in 1925. He submitted a patent for using conductive inks to print a layout of electrical components into a board. The electric path will be printed directly onto the insulated surface.
In 1943, a man from United Kingdom named Paul Eisler received patent rights to the PCB fabrication method of etching on copper to a non-conductive board. Etching is the process of coating a board with resist image spray solution to dissolve the copper which is already placed on the board itself. During the time of Eisler’s invention, it was also the time when the Second World War was taking place. The US military used Eisler’s idea to build weapons using etching as a process.
It was during the 1950s when the transistor was invented. This is the device used to connect the electronic components to a switch to signal it to open or close the circuit. For short, the transistor is the electronic switch of the printed circuit board. Due to the invention of the transistor, Eisler’s patent was put into the commercial market. This is because before his invention, the electronic components were so big that there was no other way of attaching them to a board without the use of wiring and staples. When the transistor came out, the electric components were made smaller so that they can fit into smaller electronics.
In 1961, the United States Hazeltine Corporation patented the through-hole technology which is still being used until now. This PCB fabrication method involves the insertion of leads of the components into the vias of the copper layers. In the 1980s, the through-hole method was enhanced to plated through-hole technology to be conducive to electricity for the different layers.
These inventions led to the modern printed circuit board today and gradually, the printed circuit boards became smaller and smaller until the PCB manufacturing required the use of computer-aided software to design and build the board.
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