Editorial Team - PCB Directory
May 16, 2023
Printed Circuit Boards are the primary components of an electronic device. Depending on the application of that particular electronic device, the requirements and specifications of the PCB carrying their electric circuit change as well. For example, when space and accessibility of a device is the prime consideration Flexible PCBs are preferred. For an operation that requires flexibility as well as strong mechanical endurance, we usually use Rigid-Flex PCBs.
Similarly, in some cases, electronic devices have to go through tenuous processes, they have to be redundant to high temperatures as well as very conductive so that heat dissipation is fact and does not affect the electronic circuit. In these cases, a Metal Core Printed Circuit Board is the preferred choice.
This article explores everything from what are MCPCBs, to their usage, properties, and, how we can manufacture them. Follow this comprehensive guide, to make a decision if a Metal Core PCB is something that you need as a manufacturer.
A metal core printed circuit board (PCB)
What is a Metal Core Printed Circuit Board?
A Metal Core PCB, also known as MCPCB, is a type of printed circuit board that uses a metal core, usually made of aluminum, as its base material instead of the traditional non-conductive substrate. The metal core provides superior thermal conductivity, allowing for efficient dissipation of heat generated by the electronic components mounted on the PCB. This makes MCPCBs ideal for applications that require high power and high operating temperatures, such as LED lighting, power supplies, and motor control.
In a metal core PCB, the metal core is laminated to a layer of dielectric material and a layer of copper, forming a three-layered board. The dielectric material is used to insulate the copper layer from the metal core, while the copper layer is used for routing and connecting the electronic components. The metal core also acts as a structural support for the PCB, making it more robust and resistant to mechanical stresses and vibrations. Overall, MCPCBs are a specialized type of PCB that offer superior thermal management, high power handling capabilities, and improved durability compared to traditional PCBs.
Types of Metal Cores
Following is some additional information on the different types of metal cores commonly used in MCPCBs:
MCPCBs with an aluminum core are the most commonly used type. Aluminum is a lightweight and cost-effective material that offers good thermal conductivity, making it ideal for applications such as LED lighting, power supplies, and motor control. Aluminum is also easy to fabricate and offers good mechanical strength and stability.
An Aluminum Metal Core PCB
Advantages of Aluminum Core
Disadvantages of Aluminum Core
Good thermal conductivity
Lower thermal conductivity compared to copper
Lightweight and cost-effective
Can corrode over time if not properly coated
Easy to fabricate
Good mechanical strength and stability
MCPCBs with a copper core offer higher thermal conductivity compared to aluminum, making them ideal for high-power applications. Copper is also a more stable material compared to aluminum, making it suitable for applications that require higher mechanical strength and durability.
Advantages of Copper Core
Disadvantages of Copper Core
Higher thermal conductivity compared to aluminum
Higher cost compared to aluminum
More stable material, suitable for applications requiring higher mechanical strength and durability
More difficult to fabricate compared to aluminum
Some MCPCBs use a combination of aluminum and copper in their metal core, offering a balance between thermal conductivity and mechanical strength. These are typically used in applications that require both high-power handling capabilities and durability.
Advantages of Combination Core
Disadvantages of Combination Core
The balance between thermal conductivity and mechanical strength
Higher cost compared to single-metal cores
Suitable for applications that require both high-power handling capabilities and durability
More difficult to fabricate compared to single-metal cores
What are the properties that distinguish MCPCBs?
Metal Core PCBs (MCPCBs) are specialized printed circuit boards designed to provide superior thermal management capabilities. They are also known as Insulated Metal Substrates (IMS), or Metal Clad PCBs. Here are some of the properties of MCPCBs:
Heat dissipation in an Aluminium MCPCB
Applications of Metal Core PCBs
MCPCBs (Metal Core Printed Circuit Boards) are used in various applications where high power and efficient heat dissipation are required. Here are some common applications of MCPCBs:
MCPCBs used in LED Lighting
Overall, MCPCBs are ideal for applications that require high power and efficient heat dissipation.
Metal Core PCBs, or MCPCBs, are a type of printed circuit board that uses a metal core, usually made of aluminum, as their base material instead of the traditional non-conductive substrate. The metal core provides superior thermal conductivity, allowing for efficient dissipation of heat generated by the electronic components mounted on the PCB. This makes MCPCBs ideal for applications that require high power and high operating temperatures, such as LED lighting, power supplies, and motor control.
MCPCBs have excellent heat dissipation properties, durability, electrical insulation, and high-power capabilities, and are cost-effective in the long run. They can be made with different metal cores, such as aluminum, copper, or a combination of both, depending on the specific thermal management needs. MCPCBs are commonly used in automotive, aerospace, and industrial electronics, among other applications.
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