Solder Mask Colors
Although the solder mask has been exclusively green for a while, more shades are emerging to cater to designs with specific color requirements. To make prototype runs and revision changes more identifiable, or to merely make a PCB look trendy in a see-through enclosure.
With OEMs increasingly embracing clear electronics and appliances, circuit board manufacturers are adopting colored solder masks as a way to give their boards a bit of a personality.
Commonly Used Solder Mask Colors
Today, the most widely used colors are red, blue, black, white and yellow. Clear – not technically a color – is also a shade of choice for designers. And manufacturers can also synthesize other choices, such as purple, orange or even pink, from the three primary colors – red, blue and yellow.
Although the color spectrum for solder masks has expanded significantly in recent years, most PCBs still come covered in the green mask. One of the primary reasons why green is the preferred color for many designers is that it aids in the inspection.
According to research, the eyes are more sensitive to green than colors like yellow, white or black, making it easier to see the contrast between copper pads, traces, and empty spaces.
Additionally, the green mask adheres relatively evenly, cures appropriately, and also has a higher resolution than most colors. Which means it can create smaller mask dams for a more space-efficient circuit.
Designers, especially those in modern niches like Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are increasingly embracing red solder masks for aesthetic purposes. In some circuits, red can also give a more striking color contrast between a board’s components and traces, as well as the while silkscreen.
Blue and green solder masks are very similar when it comes to functionality, but for some PCB users, blue takes the win because of its uniqueness. Boards covered in the blue mask are pretty rare on the market. But if you want them for your project, you can get them from a manufacturer like pelectropcb.
Black solder mask, while not exactly the most eye-catching, can be advantageous in applications that require light reflection. Black also absorbs heat more readily than other colors, and that means it needs less heat during reflow.
White is the most unpopular PCB solder mask color because it provides the least visibility. Moreover, some low-quality masks start to turn to yellow after a while, especially when consistently exposed to heat.
Nevertheless, white masks are often the first choice for LED systems because they’re brighter than other PCB colors.
If none of the shades above float your board, you can consider rarer but more uniquely appealing solder mask colors like yellow, orange and purple. These colors are popular among companies that make niche electronics, and designers looking to make their new products stand out in the market.
If you want an exceedingly compact circuit, a transparent mask will give you the smallest mask dams and mask reliefs compared to other colors.