Key Takeaways:

  • PCBs are not considered flammable under normal operating conditions.
  • Under extreme conditions, such as prolonged exposure to high temperatures, PCBs can release toxic gases.
  • Proper storage and handling precautions should be taken to avoid potential hazards.


Printed circuit boards (PCBs) have become ubiquitous in today’s electronic devices, ranging from smartphones to industrial machinery. While PCBs are generally safe and reliable, questions often arise regarding their flammability. In this article, we will explore the flammability of PCBs, examining the factors that influence their susceptibility to ignition and the potential hazards associated with handling them.

Flammability of PCBs

PCBs are made from a combination of non-flammable materials, including fiberglass, epoxy resin, and copper. However, these materials can become compromised under extreme conditions. When PCBs are exposed to high temperatures, the epoxy resin can soften and release flammable gases. In extreme cases, the ignition of these gases can lead to a fire.

Factors Affecting Flammability

Several factors can increase the flammability of PCBs:

  • Temperature: Exposure to temperatures above 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit) can weaken the epoxy resin, making it more susceptible to combustion.
  • Oxygen Concentration: The presence of oxygen is necessary for combustion. PCBs stored in areas with high oxygen concentrations are more likely to ignite.
  • Ignition Source: A spark, flame, or other high-energy source can ignite the gases released from damaged PCBs.

Hazards Associated with Flammable PCBs

While PCBs are not typically flammable under normal operating conditions, they can pose hazards under certain circumstances:

  • Toxic Fumes: When PCBs burn, they release toxic gases, including dioxins and furans. These gases can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues.
  • Fire Propagation: Burning PCBs can spread flames to nearby materials, potentially creating a larger fire.
  • Electrical Hazards: If a fire occurs on a PCB, it can damage electrical components and create short circuits, leading to further hazards.

Safe Handling and Storage

To minimize the risks associated with flammable PCBs, proper handling and storage precautions are essential:

  • Temperature Control: Store PCBs in areas with controlled temperatures below 150 degrees Celsius (302 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation in storage areas to reduce oxygen concentration.
  • Avoid Ignition Sources: Keep PCBs away from potential ignition sources, such as open flames or welding equipment.
  • Proper Disposal: Dispose of damaged or unwanted PCBs according to local regulations to prevent environmental contamination.


While PCBs are not typically flammable under normal operating conditions, they can become a fire hazard under extreme conditions. Understanding the factors that influence their flammability and taking appropriate safety measures are crucial to prevent potential hazards. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, you can minimize the risks associated with PCBs and ensure their safe handling and storage.

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