about METAL CORE PCB/MCPCBS
The thermal PCB is another name for the metal core PCBs.
In short, the MCPCB is a PCB that has a metal base. That is, the PCBs main material for its plate or base is metal. The base metal material helps to spread heat cropping up during operation.
Hence, a base metal is a great heat conductor, and it helps to easily dissipate all the heat produced by the PCB during operation.
These days, we have new developments like the metal core that replaces the conventional CEM3 and FR4 materials used for old-designed PCBs.
Also, this metal core PCB helps to dispel heat from highly vulnerable components to low vulnerable parts like a heat sink.
THE MATERIALS AND THICKNESS LEVEL OF METAL CORE PCB
The metal core PCB usually comes in three options; Aluminum core PCB, Copper core PCB, or a mixture of specific metal alloys.
However, the aluminum core PCB is the most common material. Sometimes, materials like steel or brass get ordered, but it’s only on rare occasions.
As for thickness, metal core PCBs are usually very thick and extremely hard to cut into smaller pieces. And this could pose a slight problem for people that intend to cut the metal core PCB.
It’s also essential to check out the chemicals used in manufacturing the metal PCB materials and notice if they react to the metals.
Usually, the metal core PCB plates are about 30 mil – 125 mil in thickness. However, you can still find metal plates that are thinner or thicker.
The copper foil thickness of MCPCB is usually around 1 – 10 oz.
The Materials for Metal Core Boards
|Metal Core Materials for 1-layer boards||Thermal|
|Dielectric Glass Transition (Tg)||Surface|
|Dielectric Breakdown (AC)|
2 Layer Metal Core Boards
|Metal Core Materials for 2-layer boards||Thermal Resistance||Thermal Conductivity||Surface Resistivity||Dielectric Glass Transition (Tg)||Tracking Resistance||Dielectric Breakdown (AC)|
METAL CORE PCB APPLICATIONS
Metal core PCBs are quite useful in some specific applications, which usually generates a ton of heat in its process.
As we mentioned earlier, metal core PCBs are ideal for dissipating heat that builds up during operation. That’s why most manufacturers make use of it to maintain the solid performance of their devices. They also come in handy if you run a lot of long operational processes.
So, the major applications of the metal core PCBs are:
1. Ideal for electronic communication equipment like electrical telegraphy, filter circuits, and frequency amplifiers.
2. It’s a perfect fit for audio equipment like balanced amplifiers, input & output amplifiers, preamplifiers, power amplifiers, audio amplifiers, and many others.
3. Power supply equipment like DC/AC converters, SW adjusters, switch regulators, and many others.
4. Used for Computers and Computing components like CPU motherboards and power supply devices.
5. Energy-saving lamps and lanterns, LED lamps.
6. Power devices like converters, solid relays, bridges, rectifiers, and many more.
7. Automation devices found in offices like motor drives.
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THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF METAL CORE PCB
Single-Sided Metal Core PCB
1. Solder Mask 2. Copper Circuit layer 3. Metal Base (ic layer will perform as the conducive link between IC and heat sink. Unlike FR4. The copper and Aluminum or Copper Alloy) 4. Non-conducting dielectric layer 5. IC components
Double Sided Metal Core PCB
1.A double-sided metal core PCB comes with a metal core between two of the board’s conductor layers.
2.The metal core merges with the conductors via the SMD and vias, usually on top or at the base.
3.The metal cores are iron alloys, aluminum, or copper.
Multilayer Metal Core PCB
1.The structure looks like the FR4 multi-layers; however, it’s more sophisticated and complex in its design.
2.It uses many components, signal layers, and put grounds. In contrast to FR4, the multilayer PCBs involve more technology, work, and experience in laminating its multi-layers.
3.laminating these multi-layers is slightly pricey, although it tends to perform far better than every other PCB available in the market.
THE BENEFITS OF METAL CORE PCBS
The major benefits of using metal core PCBs are:
1. It comes with a special substrate material that helps boost the design sturdiness of devices working at high temperatures.
2. The PCBs can expel surplus heat from devices.
3. It helps to blend dielectric polymer layers in high thermal conductivity—making them suitable for low thermal resistivity.
4. The PCBs dissipate heat 9-times faster than the regular FR4 PCBs.
5. It’s pretty solid and sturdy—in terms of its mechanical capacity.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN METAL CORE PCBS VS. FR4 PCBS
|–||Metal Core PCBs||FR4 PCBs|
|Plated Through Holes||Plated Through Holes isn’t available for 1-layer Metal Core PCBs.||All its PCBs use Plated Through Holes.|
|Conductivity||High thermal conductivity, about 1.0W – 4.0W.||Low thermal conductivity, about 0.3W|
|Solder Mask||Solely White color solder mask available for only the top.||Dark color solder mask available for both bottom and top.|
|Machining Process||V-score must use diamond-coated saw blades.||Uses the regular machine processes|
|Thermal Relief||Provides its unique thermal relief; So, no plating processes, deposition, and drilling.||It involves longer drill cycles, adds lots of processes, and uses vias for heat transfers.|
|Thickness||Limited thickness variations||Wide range of thickness|