A Guide to G10/FR4 in 2021


G-10 is a thermosetting industrial laminated plastic consisting of a woven glass cloth material and an epoxy resin matrix. First introduced in the 1950’s, G-10 was the original glass of epoxy laminate used in printed circuitry. The high strength, excellent electrical properties, and chemical resistance of G-10 make for a very versatile material that is now being used in a wide variety of applications.

Today most of what is called G-10 is actually FR-4, the flame retardant version of G-10. This explains why you will also see the material designated G-10FR. This means FR-4. The material FR-4 can usually be used where G-10 is called out, however, G-10 should not be used where FR-4 is specified.

What is G-10?

G-10 is a thermoset plastic. It is suited for use in applications requiring electrical insolation and extremely high mechanical strength at room temperature. For temperature specific applications, the variations of G-10 will be noted as G-10/CR for cryogenic or G-10/FR4 for flame-retardant. Our G-10 is a NEMA grade material composed of epoxy resin laminated fiberglass.

What is FR4?

FR4 is G-10 epoxy laminated fiberglass with fire-retardant properties. FR4 is also a thermoset plastic. This material is required in applications involving electronic or high temperature environments. It can withstand heat up to 140oC. The material has excellent electrical insulating properties. It is also suitable for both dry and humid conditions.

How do G-10 and FR4 compare?

FR4 can be used where G-10 or FR4 is called out. But just G-10 cannot be used in specific FR4 applications since it would not withstand the electrical aspects of the environment.

How long does G-10/FR4 material last?

It all depends on where the material is being used. If it is not exposed to sunlight, it has an extremely long-lasting life. Used inside machinery, structures, or vehicles, a piece of G-10 would be permanent. If it is placed outside, it would slowly degrade over a period of years because it does not have UV protection properties and the sunlight would cause it to slowly degenerate.

How strong are these materials?

Strength depends on the thickness of the material and the application.

What colors is G-10 material available in?

The natural color is a jade green, but we have developed up to 21 colors in the FR4 material, colors including red, blue, black, white, orange, and even a glow-in-the-dark color (Dayglow), tan, Ivory, purple, pink, several greens as well greys. Keep an eye on our “What’s New” page for new product and color releases.

What is the future of this material?

The sky is the limit for the future of G-10/FR4. This material is all in the hands of the designers and engineers. There are a variety of uses for it in increasingly advanced technologies such as electrical vehicle insulation applications.

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