PCBs are everywhere. They’re in just about every electronic device you can think of. But what’s involved in PCB manufacture – what materials are involved in its construction, and why are they

Let’s take a closer look at the construction of a standard PCB..

The substrate

This layer is what gives a PCB its strength. It’s a rigid, non-conductive layer to which other PCB layer substances and components are applied and embedded.

And there are many different types of substrates. Those designed for lower-grade electronics, fibreglass substrates designed to offer resistance from cracks and breaks, plastic substrates for
improved electrical performance and even flexible substrates for space-saving circuit boards.


A thin layer of copper is then laminated to the substrate. And it’s this copper layer on which a conductive circuit pattern is etched.

Note that double-sided PCBs have copper laminated to either side of the substrate.


Over the layer of copper comes the soldermask. You’ll probably be familiar with the soldermask – it’s the layer that gives the PCB its green colour.

But it’s not just about colour. The soldermask covers and helps to insulate the copper tracers, preventing them from coming into contact with other metals – metals which might short a

The silkscreen layer

Finally there’s the silkscreen layer. And this layer’s there to help us understand the circuit board. It usually contains labels to group certain features together for ease of location, and it can tell
us the function of the individual PCB elements.

For more information on Materials used take a look on our Base Laminates page which can be found under the Manufacturing heading, if you want to see some MultiLayer Builds just go to our Resources page where you can find a range of our standard builds which are in a downloadable pdf format.