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Advantages of electrically conductive adhesives | Disadvantages of electrically conductive adhesives

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of electrically conductive adhesives and its basics. It mentions benefits or advantages of electrically conductive adhesives and drawbacks or disadvantages of electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs).

Introduction:
We have seen use of lead free solders to mount ICs, LEDs and other electronic components on substrates. This is applicable for rigid PCBs. This technique is not suitable for flexible substrates instead ECAs are used. ECAs are used for various applications which include consumer electronics, automotive electronics, EMI shielding, display, RFID tags, wearable amd in-mould electronics, printed electronics etc.

What is electrically conductive adhesives?

ECAs offer high strength and it is safe to use. There are two types of ECAs viz. ICAs (Isotropic conductive adhesives) and ACAs (Anisotropic conductive adhesives). Both the methods have unique ways of passing electrivity across the joints. ACA is further categorized into sub types viz. ACP (Anisotropic conductive paste) and ACF (anisotropic conductive film).

In ICA type, electricity is passed in all the directions. Hence it requires smaller amount between metal pad and connection. ACA type conducts electric charges in one direction only. It conducts electricity across connection without any short circuit.

Benefits or advantages of electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs)

Following are the benefits or advantages of electrically conductive adhesives:
➨It produces low impact to the environment as it does not use heavy or toxic metals.
➨This method can be used to connect fine pitches. Hence it offers assembly of more components in a small region of the circuit.
➨Polymer filler holds things together. Hence it is mechanically soft.
➨It requires low temperature compare to soldering technique. This is useful for temperature sensitive components.
➨It offers better fatigue resistance compare to solder joints.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of electrically conductive adhesives (ECAs)

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of electrically conductive adhesives:
➨It requires lower temperature for curing but takes longer time compare to traditional soldering method.
➨Silver used in this technique is very expensive and hence it is not feasible for use at larger scale.
➨ECAs require very different equipments than lead free solder technique. This increases investment cost for the company.
➨ECAs require more precision compare to solders which allow perfect placement of components even if they are placed incorrectly.
➨It offers high electrical/thermal resistance than solders.



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