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Semiconductors & Plastic Materials... What You Need To Know

Plastics in Semiconductors

The tech industry requires strict environmental and production criteria for semiconductor products like wafers and microchips. Given the extremely corrosive chemicals that assembly machinery must be exposed to during manufacturing, such regulations might be challenging to meet. Plastic for semiconductors aids in maintaining high purity standards during fabrication, resulting in less time and resources wasted and guaranteeing that electronics work precisely as intended.

At Piedmont Plastics, our products are widely employed in the semiconductor industry, particularly when high-temperature and high-purity processes are critical. Our plastic materials offer clean and contaminant-free surfaces, are dimensionally stable at high and low temperatures, and are unaffected by harsh chemicals, strong acids, or solvents.

Many of our plastics are used to manufacture semiconductors and electronic equipment applications, including circuit boards, fixtures, hard disk drives, wet bencheswafer processing, test sockets, and more.

The Benefits of Plastics for Semiconductor Fabrication

It's important to understand the type of facility semiconductors are made in order to comprehend why plastic is the best material for semiconductors and semiconductor production. These fabrication centers, referred to as "fabs," are usually housed inside bigger manufacturing facilities and feature a clean room. The smallest and most delicate semiconductor parts are produced in this meticulously controlled environment. It is less likely for contaminants and environmental factors like dust and static electricity to completely destroy a microchip or integrated circuit when there are several layers of protection from the outside world.

Plastic is frequently used in semiconductor manufacturing equipment, such as wet benches, IC chip carriers, filtration elements, and more, to help maintain these exact conditions. Compared to more conventional materials like metal and ceramic, plastic for semiconductors has a number of advantages, including:

Elimination of Static

Because even a single stray shock is enough to destroy the delicate circuitry of an integrated circuit chip, one of the essential functions of a clean room is to eliminate as much static electricity as possible. The use of plastic for semiconductors helps dissipate static electricity, grounding any charges that could spark and damage sensitive components.

Resistant To Chemicals

One of the key benefits of plastic over conventional materials for semiconductors is the ability to withstand chemicals. During procedures like acid etching and chemical rinsing and drying, wet benches are frequently exposed to corrosive chemicals, including nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, and ozone. If metals were subjected to these conditions, they would corrode and release particulates into the clean manufacturing zone, contaminating it and leading to semiconductor failure.

Resistant to Extreme Heat and Flame

Certain processes involved in the manufacture of semiconductors generate significant levels of heat, which has the potential to ignite other types of material. Plastics used for semiconductors perform exceedingly well in these intense temperatures and are non-flammable. This ensures that mishaps within the clean room caused by fire will be less likely to occur.

Low Outgassing

When a product outgasses, it releases chemicals into the air as a result of conditions like temperature and humidity. Both people and semiconductor products can be harmed by outgassing. Common semiconductor polymers like HDPE and polycarbonate have low outgassing properties in vacuum-sealed areas. They are, therefore, perfect for clean rooms, which are highly controlled environments.

Cost Effective

The establishment of a clean room, as well as the upkeep of a fab facility, both cost a significant amount of money. In the semiconductor industry, one of the most cost-effective options is to use plastic for the equipment, filtration systems, and tools used in clean rooms.

What Plastics Are Used to Fabricate Semiconductors?

Given the delicacy required for the fabrication of semiconductors, only certain plastics are used. Here are some of the most commonly used plastics in the semiconductor industry.

  • HDPE sheet is used as a semiconductor plastic because of its strength and resistance to acids, mold, and mildew. It's adaptable and malleable, so it may be utilized to make plastic parts and accessories that match industry standards. HDPE is easier to machine and less expensive than traditional materials like ceramics or quartz.
  • Polycarbonate is one of the toughest plastics, used in semiconductor test sockets, valves, tubing, and filtering elements. It can be chopped or cold-formed on-site during installation to fulfill semiconductor industry specifications. Polycarbonate is a semiconductor plastic that resists electrical shock and dampens static electricity.
  • Polypropylene offers good chemical and acid resistance, along with many other similar features, but is more affordable, which benefits the industry. Polypropylene can be used to make wet benches, workstations, semiconductors, and IC chip pieces.

Semiconductor Materials at Piedmont Plastics

At Piedmont Plastics, we stock industry-leading materials from some of the best manufacturers in the world. Our experts are ready to assist you with your material selection and provide solutions for any fabrication issues you might have.

Contact the materials specialists at Piedmont Plastics today to learn more.