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Does PCB Mask colour affect thermal performance?

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equalizor:
Hi everyone,

I recently made a video on my channel which was a teardown of a Dual Handle soldering station and someone commented that the reason that Black PCB mask is used on PCB's is because it provides better heat dissipation.

Actual quote :"The black solder mask is more than cosmetic. It is a thermal "heat sink" (or more accurately "Heat Spreader") to mitigate hot spots created by power components. It shows up in many higher quality AC Adapters used to charge mobile phones."

In my mind better heat dissipation on a PCB would be provided using via stitching and copper pours/pads, and that colour doesn't make a whole lot of difference, although I am not an expert in PCB design.

What do you guys think?

Cheers

Rob

CJay:
Load of rubbish.

tszaboo:
There is no difference between the materials of solder masks. The color is just an additive, sort of like the food coloring additives.
There will be a miniscule of difference between white and black PCB, for black body radiation. It is really small unless the temperature of the board is very high. Ignore it.
Solder mas is not a heat spreader, it conducts heat very badly.
Via stiching does help, but only in the first mm or so away from the component.
Copper pour helps a lot.

reboots:
Solder mask is an insulator. It will not aid in thermal dissipation. Leaving the copper bare would be more effective. You are correct that via stitching and copper pour will promote heat conduction and dissipation.

Whether color affects mask thickness or density, or if certain colors are more insulating than others, I can't say. Certainly some common mask pigments (e.g. yellow) seem less opaque.

nctnico:

--- Quote from: reboots on February 08, 2021, 05:13:47 pm ---Solder mask is an insulator. It will not aid in thermal dissipation. Leaving the copper bare would be more effective. You are correct that via stitching and copper pour will promote heat conduction and dissipation.

--- End quote ---
That is not necessarily true. The keyword is emissivity:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissivity

Added to that it is entirely possible that something that looks black to the human eye can have a totally different behaviour at different wavelengths. All in all you need to carefully study material properties and 'do the math' before making any final conclusion.

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