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Through the years, the impact of right-angle corners on printed circuit board (PCB) traces has been a hot topic. As early as the 1990s, some were arguing strongly against the use of 90˚ corners, using mitered corners instead. How do TRM simulations and experiments come together?

Read more in our collaboration: Thermal Effects around Right-Angle Trace Corners

In the past I was asked several times about AC on boards and its consequences due to electro-magnetic induction. How does an alternating current change trace heating and how does it influence the traces around? Plenty of approximating formulae on skin and proximity effect for simplified geometries can be found in literature. For traces in boards it is better to solve Maxwell's equations directly.

Over Christmas and New Year there is some time to play with. A test code gives good results for classic test cases. What has to be done now is to define industrial use cases and to solve them.

Call for Action: If you work with AC in printed boards and want to contribute, please leave a message in the comment field below.

Why is temperature of printed boards so important?

Because there are limiting temperatures for operation:

  • Secure maximum operational temperature of components
  • Glass transition temperature of the board material
  • Stability of solder joints

Why should temperature be known as good as possible?

Because too many items depend on temperature:

  • Material properties, e.g. electric resistance of traces and thus voltage feed or impedance for transmission of signals
  • Performance of components
  • Derating of power for hot ambients needs knowledge of component temperature

Why don't simplifying spread sheet calculations work?

Because the local thermal conductivity (the artwork) controls the temperature of a component. It is impossible to include copper patterns, drills and influence from other components in a simple formula, a data sheet or a simple network. Better do a holistic simulation using dedicated software.