As electronic devices become smaller and more ubiquitous, the printed circuit boards and components that drive them face increasing power densities and evermore complexity. To ensure product reliability and performance, accurate and detailed analysis methodologies are necessary. In a three-part series, Mike Bak and I will discuss modeling approaches for the thermo-mechanical analysis of printed circuit boards and their components. In part one of this series, I will cover modeling approaches for the PCB itself.
A typical PCB will have multiple layers, each one having its own distribution of FR-4 and copper traces and vias. Take the board layout shown in Figure 1 as an example, which has over 16,000 traces and vias across 7 layers. The complex board geometry leads to spatially varying material properties (i.e. modulus of elasticity, density, thermal conductivity, etc.) that must be accurately specified by the analyst for any type of simulation.
Figure 1: Typical PCB Layout Geometry
So, what are some ways that we can model this type of geometry? I’ve outlined below some common approaches: Continue reading