5 Major Causes of Foaming on Copper Plating of a PCB Board

5 Major Causes of Foaming on Copper Plating of a PCB Board

There are many causes of foaming on the copper plating of a PCB board. Some are caused by oil or dust pollution while others are caused by the copper sinking process. Foaming is a problem with any copper plating process as it requires chemical solutions that can cross-contaminate other areas. It can also occur due to improper local treatment of the board surface.


In micro-etching, the activity of the copper precipitate is too strong, causing pores to leak and blisters. It can also lead to poor adhesion and deteriorate coating quality. Hence, removing these impurities is crucial to prevent this problem.

Before attempting copper plating, the copper substrate is subjected to a cleaning sequence. This cleaning step is essential to remove surface impurities and provide an overall wetting of the surface. Next, the substrate is treated with an acid solution to condition the copper surface. This is followed by the copper plating step.

Another cause of foaming is improper cleaning after acid degreasing. This can be caused by improper cleaning after acid degreasing, misadjustment of the brightening agent, or poor copper cylinder temperature. Besides, improper cleaning can lead to slight oxidation of the board’s surface.


Oxidation causes foaming on the copper plating of the PCB board when the copper foil on the board is not sufficiently protected against the effects of oxidation. The problem can occur due to poor adhesion or surface roughness. It can also occur when the copper foil on the board is thin and does not adhere well to the board substrate.

Micro-etching is a process that is employed in copper sinking and pattern electroplating. Micro-etching should be performed carefully to avoid excessive oxidation. Over-etching could lead to the formation of bubbles around the orifice. Insufficient oxidation can lead to poor bonding, foaming and a lack of binding force. Micro-etching should be performed to a depth of 1.5 to two microns before the copper deposition and 0.3 to one micron before the pattern plating process. Chemical analysis can be used to ensure that the required depth has been achieved.

Substrate processing

Foaming on the copper plating of the PCB board is a major quality defect that can be caused by poor substrate processing. This issue occurs when the copper foil on the board surface is unable to adhere to the chemical copper because of poor bonding. This causes the copper foil to blister on the board surface. This results in an uneven color and black and brown oxidation.

The process of copper plating requires the use of heavy copper adjustment agents. These chemical liquid medicines can cause cross contamination of the board and result in poor treatment effects. In addition to this, it can lead to uneven board surfaces and a poor bonding force between the board and the PCBA assembly.


Foaming on copper plating of PCB board can be caused by two major factors. The first is improper copper plating process. The copper plating process uses a lot of chemicals and organic solvents. The copper plating treatment process is complicated and the chemicals and oils in the water used for plating can be harmful. They can cause cross-contamination, uneven defects, and binding problems. The water used for copper plating process should be controlled and should be of good quality. Another important thing to consider is the temperature of copper plating. This will greatly affect the washing effect.

Micro-erosion occurs when water and oxygen are dissolved on the copper plate. The dissolved water and oxygen from the water causes an oxidation reaction and forms a chemical compound called ferrous hydroxide. The oxidation process results in the release of electrons from the board’s copper plating.

Lack of cathodic polarity

Foaming on the copper plating of a PCB board is a common quality defect. The process used for manufacturing the PCB board is complex and requires careful process maintenance. The process involves chemical wet processing and plating, and requires careful analysis of the cause and effect of foaming. This article describes the causes of foaming on the copper plate and what can be done to prevent it.

The pH level of the plating solution is also crucial, as it determines the cathodic current density. This factor will affect the coating’s deposition rate and quality. A lower pH plating solution will result in greater efficiency, while a higher pH will result in less.

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