For example, in an identical setup, would a fiber glass perfboard last more years than a phenolic perfboard?

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2 Answers 2


They both should last pretty much indefinitely if there's not a lot of heat involved, once they are built, and if they are treated gently.

The paper phenolic type is less heat resistant and will be easier to damage during assembly and would be more likely to have reliability issues if you had parts on it that were quite hot (like too hot to hold your finger on).

The copper adhesion seems generally worse on the phenolic boards so large components could be an issue. Also the phenolic boards are brittle so if you have a heavy component and the board is mechanically shocked or vibrated hard you could easily crack the board. Epoxy glass laminate does not easily crack.

Not directly related to your question, but the brittle nature of the phenolic boards makes it a bit harder to cut them to size if you have to do that. You have to use something like a rotary tool (eg. Dremel) or sharp saw rather than shearing action. If you try to use tin snips or a metal shear it won't end well. When they are cut industrially (for example, by a shear or punch) they are heated to make them less brittle.

On the other hand the dust from cutting, filing or sanding epoxy-glass laminate is nasty and itchy and probably bad to breath in. Epoxy glass laminate is quite abrasive and bad on things like steel shear blades and high-speed steel drill bits. Solid carbide does better on epoxy-glass.

Drilling paper base phenolic has not have that issue but it requires a sharp drill bit, and preferably some sacrificial material, especially on the bottom, or larger holes can crack around where the drill bit breaks through and bites on the edge, potentially pulling the material up and then cracking.


If it is to lash up a bit of circuit to prove a point or prototyping before it gets CAD then it does not matter which type of board so I would use whatever was there. In this case, the birds nest does not go halfway across the world and gets stripped down when CAD has happened and I have tested the first board. If the circuit is not going to be CADded and must work in the field then the fibreglass is much better. Also, if leakage is going to be an issue then fibreglass is the better bet.


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