Hey Guys! We welcome you on board. Technology evolves everyday with the addition of advanced components and devices that make our lives easy. Few years back we were dependent on end to end wiring and connectors to electrically connect different electronic components. Inception of PCB substantially removed the need of end to end wiring and gave an entirely new look to the electronic industry. Today, connecting different components on the board is not a big deal that comes with light weight and covers less space as compared to old conventional methods. In this article I’ll unlock the details on the Introduction to Aluminum PCB. It is a type of PCB which uses dielectric thermally conductive and electrically insulated material between the copper layer and aluminum metal. This PCB is highly effective choice for the applications which involve heat dissipation, maintaining and controlling the overall temperature of the project. You must have a quick look at Multilayer and Different Types of PCB that I have updated previously.
I’ll try to cover everything related to aluminum PCB so you find all information in one place. Let’s dive in and explore what is it about, what are its advantages over regular PCB and its main applications.
Before we look into aluminum PCB, we must have an clear concept what is PCB? PCB is an acronym of Printed Circuit Board, which uses conductive paths and traces incorporated on a single board that electrically connect different electronic components on the board. Copper is used to provide conductive path that is laminated on the substrate material which is mostly made up of fiberglass.
Aluminum PCB, also referred as metal base PCB, is a type of PCB which consists of copper clad laminate and thin dielectric thermally conductive and electrically insulated layer that is laminated between copper foil and metal base. The copper foil adopts the desired circuit pattern while metal base allows the heat dissipating with the help of dielectric placed between the layers. Aluminum constructions are mainly divided into three layers
Circuit Layer: It is a copper layer which comes with thickness around 1 to 10 oz.
Insulating Layer: A dielectric layer of thermally conductive and electrically insulated material
Base Layer: This is mainly composed of copper or aluminum metal substrate. There are multiple thickness available, however most common thickness is 1mm.
Types of Aluminum PCBs
There are number of types of aluminum PCBs which are used in many applications based on their construction and design. However, main purpose of all the aluminum PCBs is almost same; providing heat dissipation solutions for the applications involving high temperature. Following are the main types of aluminum PCBs.
Flexible Aluminum PCBs
- Flexible dielectric is a new addition in the development of aluminum products.
- These materials come with polyimide resin integrated with ceramic filters which exhibit high flexibility, thermal efficiency and excellent electrical insulation.
- When these materials are applied on an aluminum material, they result in a final product that eliminates the need of costly cable and connectors.
- Amount of flexibility allows these products to fold, twist or shape into any form before they remain in place.
- Once they adopt a specific shape, they can not be altered or modified like regular flexible PCBs.
Hybrid Aluminum PCB
- In hybrid aluminum construction, non-thermal material is processed and refined separately before it is applied to the thermal materials with aluminum base.
- The most common practice is developing 2 layer or 4 layer structure which comprises of FR4 material.
- A non thermal material that is bonded with thermal material and aluminum base provides rigidity and helps in the dissipation of heat.
- This non thermal bonding is preferred over using all thermal materials because it features less cost and encompasses efficient thermal conductance over regular FR4 products.
- No heat sinks or assembly steps are required for the development of this product.
- Through hole components can be easily adjusted using component windows on the aluminum base.
- This helps in passing the cables and connectors through substrate. Also the seal created by solder fillet eliminates the need of costly adopters.
Multilayer Aluminum PCB
- Multilayer Aluminum PCBs are very common in power supply products and come with multiple layers of thermally conductive dielectrics.
- These materials are very useful when they are combined with one or more layer of circuitry in which thermally conductive dielectric is buried between the layers with the help of blind vias which also act as a signal or thermal vias.
- Single layer construction of these designs is not very effective, however, when they come with more complex designs they provide an ideal solution for many applications involving heat dissipation.
Through Hole Aluminum PCB
- When it comes to most complex constructions, a single layer of aluminum is back-filled and pre-drilled with before applying lamination, forming a Core of a multilayer constructions.
- Thermal bonding materials are then used to laminate the thermal materials on both sides of the aluminum.
- Once lamination is done, drilling is applied on the assembly.
- In order to maintain proper electrical insulation, the plated through holes created as the result of drilling must pass through aluminum clearances.
Advantage of Aluminum PCBs
- High level of heat dissipation provided by these aluminum PCB is much higher than FR4 based PCB which makes them an ideal choice for the applications involving high temperature and pressure.
- Low cost is another benefit which makes aluminum effective and economical in most of the applications. Aluminum is a common metal, easily available that can be mined and refined at very low cost.
- Non-toxic nature of aluminum makes it environmental friendly and an ideal choice for the applications that involve recycling of products.
- Strength and durability provided by the aluminum based products is much higher than fiberglass and ceramic materials.
- Aluminum material is very strong and sturdy in nature that makes it capable of enduring more pressure and stress when it comes to manufacturing and material handling as compared to other metals.
- Aluminum is very light weight. It adds strength and durability to the product without adding additional weight.
- Thermal conductance of dielectic used is 5 to 10 times higher than old epoxy glass.
- Thermal transfer is more efficient and reliable than regular PCB.
- These products were mainly developed for the high power switching applications but they gained enough popularity when they are introduced in LED applications.
- The aluminum design operates at higher current for mounted LEDs, keeping the temperature tolerance within specified limits.
- Automotive and RF industries go an extra mile to utilize the advantages of these products and make them available for common man.
- Aluminum PCBs are an effective choice for the applications involving heat dissipation because they provide an ideal exit of the heat with the help of dielectric, maintaining the overall temperature of the project design.
That’s all for today. I hope you have found this article useful and effective. If you intend to work online, you must look at top online PCB design service.
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