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Understanding the Importance of Metal Core PCBs

Metal core printed circuit boards or MCPCBs are circuit boards that have their base made from metals, such as copper, aluminum, and steel alloys. Each of these materials have their own peculiar properties, which make them suitable for different applications. Aluminum has a decent heat dissipation and transferring ability, and is also comparatively more economical than the other two materials. Copper exhibits better performance than aluminum and steel alloys, but is on the costlier side. Likewise, steel is relatively rigid as compared to the other two materials, and has a lower thermal conductivity. These PCBs are used as an alternative for FR4 or CEM3 boards. What makes these PCBs so popular? What are the advantages of MCPCBs? To get answers to these questions, please read the following post.

Why are Metal Core PCBs So Widely Used?

There are several advantages because of which metal core PCBs find their use in a vast variety of applications in various industries. What are these advantages? Read on to know:

  1. Thermal Conductivity: Thermal conductivity refers to the ability of a material to conduct heat. FR4 and CEM3 materials have a very low inter-layer insulation. Thus, these materials are very bad at conducting heat. This can damage the components mounted on the PCBs made from these materials. Aluminum metal core PCBs, on the other hand, have a good thermal conductivity and help protect components from getting damaged.
  2. Heat Dissipation: The metal core PCBs have a very good heat dissipation ability. This means that MCPCBs remove heat efficiently from all the ICs. The heat is passed through the thermally conductive dielectric layer and aluminum base to the heat sink.
  3. Scale Stability: The dimensional stability of metal core PCBs is better than that other PCBs. When aluminum metal core PCBs are heated from 30°C to 140 ~ 150°C, the size change of 2.5 ~ 3% is observed.
  4. Less Distortion: Good thermal conductivity and decent heat dissipation property of these PCBs make them less prone to distortion causing due to induced heat. This property of these PCBs makes them suitable for high switching power applications.
  5. Thermal Expansibility: Coefficient of thermal expansion refers to the property of an object to contract on cooling and expand on heating. This coefficient varies with materials. The metal core PCBs have a good thermal expansibility, meaning they can easily overcome problems of thermal contraction or expansion. This helps increase the durability of the equipment.

Where are the Metal Core PCBs Used?

All the advantages mentioned above make metal core PCBs ideal for use in a vast list of applications ranging from:

  • System automotive LED applications
  • Photovoltaic
  • Back light unit applications
  • Hybrid/electric motor control applications
  • Street safety applications, such as lighting, streetlights, etc.
  • Power converters: power supplies, telecom, high voltage regulator, industrial

All the aforementioned advantages and a wide range of applications are the reasons why metal core PCBs are making so much buzz in the market. These PCBs are definitely going to see a lot more developments in the future. Several experts in PCB manufacturing accept that MCPCBs can be a good choice in a number of different applications. One such expert in the design and manufacturing of metal core PCBs is Twisted Traces. The company has a decent experience in the field, and can help you with design, prototyping, and building a PCB based on your application requirements.

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