G10 FR4 (MIL-I-24768/27) is one of the most important materials ever created by humans, consisting of woven glass material, combined with a flame retardant epoxy resin matrix. It’s use in the world today, is so widespread and critical to modern manufacturing, it has become a staple in such industries and applications as medical and healthcare devices, aeronautics and aviation, robotics, electronics, and in automotive and military sectors as well.
In today’s modern thermoplastics, which are materials manufactured by polymerizing organic molecules with heat and pressure, the resin matrix that binds and creates strong and useful form is called a polymer matrix. G10 FR4 is one of the most important types of laminated plastic in terms of its uses and importance.
First introduced in the 1950’s, G10 was primarily originally used for electronic printed circuitry. The FR4 designation was introduced in 1968 by NEMA for its fire retardant properties. This innovation resulted in widespread adoption for use in situations where heat, spark, and flame were a concern. Today it is certainly still one of the most common applications; we see it still used for printed circuit boards and multi-layer circuit board construction. It’s use is ubiquitous in today’s electronics and can be found in many places like the dashboard of an automobile, or the inner workings of a flat screen television. Take apart any kind of electronics, and you will almost 100% be assured to find G10/FR4.
This material has seen wider application since it was first derived from a polymer using a phenolic compound as the main component (also called epoxy resin). G-10 FR4 finds use in electrical, electronic, and automotive engineering. This material also finds use in manufacturing plastic components for medical engineering and is often included in the forefront of medical device technology breakthroughs. It’s a modern day super-material, capable of amazing feats of strength, and infinite innovative uses.
Waterproof and lightweight, enabling exploration in places where other materials cannot go.
G10/FR4 is practically impervious to water, with almost zero absorption, making it an excellent choice in high humidity environments, or even in underwater environments where it will be constantly exposed to humidity, or even direct water contact. Submarines and ROV’s (Remotely Operated Vehicles) that explore the depths of the ocean, and stay in service for many years, make use of G10/FR4 extensively for it’s lightweight and waterproof properties. In fact, these underwater engineering marvels would not be possible today without the many parts and components that are made from G10 FR4.
To the skies and to the stars, and beyond!
G10 FR4 is such an ideal material to use for aviation and aerospace applications that SpaceX, the privately owned American space exploration company owned by Elon Musk, uses it as a standard material in construction of their rocket systems. There are numerous advantages to the material in the aerospace industry. G10 has no rust or corrosion issues, is extremely lightweight, and has exceptional impact resistance. It’s almost as lightweight as carbon fiber composite, and is much more cost effective than using other materials like titanium which is extremely heavy and costly. Jets and rockets also use G10 FR4 in the computerized control panels, in guidance and navigation systems, in communications systems, and just about every critical electronic component that aids in the safety, and success of the crew and their missions. We’ve even written in the past about how we cannot get to Mars to explore and eventually colonize it without the aid of G10/FR4. It’s use is so important in aerospace engineering, that it will take us to the stars and beyond someday soon.
Since the 1960’s, but perhaps even more-so since the 1980’s and 90’s G10 has become more heavily used in robotics and automation. As robots have become more complex and are now balancing and even walking, and moving around and interacting with humans in a safe and efficient manner, lighter weight and stronger materials like G10 have become more and more important in the mobility and range for these robots and devices, and in their durability.
For the better of humankind
G10 FR4 finds use in medical and healthcare industry for its relatively low cost compared to other materials and because of its extensive durability where machines and medical devices use G10/FR4 must meet the rigors and demands of a fast paced and heavy-use environment like hospitals and critical care wards. Its reliability for its strength and longevity make it a lifesaving material. And it’s not a material that requires a lot of maintenance or upkeep, so once a device has been manufactured, engineers can trust that the failure for a part created from G10 FR4 in the device will be very low, or even non-existent.
JMJ Profile is an expert in medical part plastic machining, because we know how important precision and reliability for these parts are, and what’s on the line – ultimately a human life.
In addition, G10 FR4 finds application in other facets of engineering equipment. From oil and gas drillers to those who work in offshore oil and gas exploration, or any application that deals with chemicals or processes that are corrosive, G10 FR4 is often used. It’s great at resisting many corrosive environments. It is also extremely resistant to vibration and impacts without fail because of its high mechanical strength, which makes it an ideal material for use in everything from large volume industrial machinery, such as conveyor belts and gears in food manufacturing plants, to small and intricate machines for precision engineering applications.
Overall this marvel material has created more opportunity for innovation in engineering and for more practical applications than we could have ever dreamt possible. The next time you’re curious, open your radio, TV or cell phone, check out the printed circuit board, and try to make sense of how all those tiny parts fit together. You’ll see the G10 FR4 behind the scenes working to keep everything in place while still being so small and light weight that you can carry it around in your pocket. Then take a look around you, and wonder how many other things are within your vision that make use of G10 FR4 parts or components. You’ll find that the world simply would not be the same without it. It is that much a part of our lives.
You’ll understand we’re heavily involved in G10/FR4 use and parts manufacturing. It’s a big part of what we do. And at JMJ Profile, we’ve been doing this so long because we know that to our customers who need it, there is nothing more important than a strong and durable quality part made from a material like G10 FR4 that can be trusted to work perfectly time and time again.
We invite you to talk with us about your G10 FR4 needs for your project. We’re here for you when you need us, and we strive to do our best to help you with your project to make sure that it is a great one.
See examples of our work in the Plastics Parts Machining Examples gallery.