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What is Metal Core PCB? | PCB Knowledge

by: Jul 28,2023 864 Views 0 Comments Posted in PCB Basic Information

Metal Core MCPCB

Metal core PCBs, also known as MCPCBs, incorporate a thermally conductive metal core, such as aluminum, copper, or stainless steel, instead of FR4. This metal core acts as a heat sink, efficiently conducting and dissipating heat generated by components on the PCB. 

Advantages

Efficient heat transfer: One notable advantage of MCPCBs is their superior heat transfer capability. They can transfer heat approximately 8 to 9 times faster than FR-4 PCBs. To achieve efficient heat dissipation, MCPCBs feature a thin dielectric layer, typically ranging from 0.003 to 0.006 inches. This slim layer ensures a shorter and more direct path for heat to travel from the heat source to the supporting metal plate. Also, the metal core layer in Metal Core PCBs acts as a built-in heat sink which can further effectively dissipate into the surrounding environment. 

High Mechanical Strength: Metal Core PCBs have increased mechanical strength compared to traditional FR4 PCBs. The metal core layer provides rigidity and stability to the board, making it more resistant to bending, warping, and mechanical stress. Industries such as automotive, aerospace, and industrial automation, often demand PCBs that can endure harsh operating conditions. Metal Core PCBs prove to be highly beneficial.   

Better Thermal Expansion Match: The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of Metal Core PCBs closely matches that of semiconductor components, such as LEDs and power devices. This reduces the risk of thermal stress-induced failures due to mismatched expansion and contraction rates between the PCB and components. The close CTE match helps ensure the reliability and longevity of electronic assemblies.

Design Flexibility: Metal Core PCBs offer design flexibility due to their versatile nature. The metal core layer allows for different mounting options, including direct soldering of components and mounting press-fit connectors. This flexibility enables customized designs to meet specific application requirements.

Applications

Metal core PCBs is ideal for applications where heat dissipation is critical, such as LED lighting, power electronics, automotive systems, renewable energy, and computer hardware. For example, in LED lighting applications, LEDs are highly efficient at converting electrical current into light, but they generate heat as a byproduct. This heat can impact the performance and lifespan of LEDs, but metal core PCBs excel at absorbing and dispersing it, allowing LEDs to operate reliably and achieve maximum efficiency.


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