What Are Aluminum PCBs And Why Do Need Them

Mention PCB and most of-of us would think of the greenish piece of substrate with copper tracks printed on both ends. What most designers are less aware of is the lesser mentioned aluminum PCBs. Also known as Metal Clad Printed Circuit Board or MCPCB, this variant of PCB may be useful for your design.

 

The Construct Of Aluminum PCBs

As the name implies aluminum forms the substrate of aluminum PCBs instead of fiberglass. However, there’s no worry of the aluminum substrate making a contact with the copper layers as they are separated by a thin electrically insulating material.

 

Why Do You Need Aluminum PCBs

Aluminum PCBs

This variant of PCBs exists for various reasons. Because the inner substrate is made of aluminum, it conducts heat much better than their fiberglass counterpart. This made MCPCB a great choice for high power applications where heat can be transferred to the aluminum.

 

Besides that, aluminum is sturdy and lightweight. It gives the PCB the robustness that cannot be offered by fiberglass PCB. PCB with aluminum substrate doesn’t break easily and could withstand better pressure or accidental drops.

 

You’ll also find that aluminum is easily acquired and recycled. Not only does this result in a lower cost of manufacturing, using aluminum also helps protect the environment as it is a non-toxic material.

 

Common Applications Of Aluminum PCBs

Aluminum PCBs

You may come across an aluminum PCB without realizing so. With superior thermal conductivity, they are widely used in power converters and LEDs in various types of configurations. It helps extend the lifespan of the components, which otherwise would deteriorate quickly with the increased temperature.

 

The effectiveness in dispersing generated heat has also seen the adoption of aluminum PCB in other applications, including automotive, motor controllers and other high current devices. However, not every manufacturer may be able to produce this variant of PCB.

 

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