What are Aluminum-based PCB boards?

PCB Substrates 
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Editorial Team - PCB Directory

Sep 14, 2019

Aluminum-based Printed Circuit Boards use an Aluminum alloy as a base material for the PCB i.e. the dielectric layer is sandwiched between the Aluminum alloy and circuit layer. The Aluminum alloy is a composite of magnesium and silumin (Al-Mg-Si).

Aluminum based PCBs are part of the Metal Core PCB family and deliver excellent thermal conductivity and insulation.

Key Advantages of Aluminum Based PCBs:

  • They deliver excellent thermal conductivity and insulation as compared to Fiberglass (FR4) PCBs. 
  • Can be used for for through-hole technology
  • Aluminum PCBs offer good heat dissipation where the dielectric layer absorbs heat when current flows through the circuit layer. This heat is then transferred to the Aluminum core where it gets dissipated. This thermal dissipation also offers easy implementation of high power and high-density circuit designs.
  • Cost-efficient as they eliminate the requirement of heat sinks
  • Aluminum-based PCBs are environment-friendly as Aluminum is non-toxic, recyclable metal. 
  • Such PCBs are very durable as their base material; Aluminum offers resistance to accidental breakages during manufacturing and everyday use. Aluminum is stronger than FR4 and Ceramic.
  • Aluminum-based PCBs are lighter in weight.

Key applications for Aluminum based PCBs include LED, Automotive Lighting, Traffic Lighting, Power Converter, Consumer Products etc.

Based on the dielectric material used, Aluminum-based PCBs can be further classified as follows:

  • Flexible Aluminum PCB: These PCBs use a polyimide resin with ceramic fillers as the dielectric material. When this dielectric layer is applied to the flexible Aluminum base, the final product can be formed into different shapes and angles, which eliminates the requirement of expensive fixtures, cables, and connectors.
  • Hybrid Aluminum PCBs: In these PCBs, the dielectric material is processed and refined separately followed by application to the Aluminum base. Such PCBs help to dissipate heat and improve the rigidity of the overall PCB board.
  • Multilayer Aluminum PCB: These PCBs are made from more than one layer of thermally conductive dielectric material. The tracks are generally buried in the dielectric using Blind vias. Such PCBs are more efficient for heat dissipation in more complicated designs.
  • Through Hole PCB: In these PCBs, the Aluminum is pre-drilled. After that, a dielectric is back-filled into the hole.

Click here to see a list of PCB fabricators who fabricate Aluminum based printed circuit boards.

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