A Metal Core Printed Circuit Board (MCPCB), also known as a thermal PCB or metal backed PCB, is a type of PCB that has a metal material as its base for the heat spreader portion of the board. The thick metal (almost always aluminum or copper) is covering 1 side of the PCB. Metal core can be in reference to the metal, being either in the middle somewhere or on the back of the board. The purpose of the core of an MCPCB is to redirect heat away from critical board components and to less crucial areas such as the metal heatsink backing or metallic core. Base metals in the MCPCB are used as an alternative to FR4 or CEM3 boards.
The metal core of the thermal PCB can be aluminum (aluminum core PCB), copper (copper core PCB or a heavy copper PCB) or a mixture of special alloys. The most common is an aluminum core PCB. Other materials, like brass or steel, are sometimes requested but are not recommended. The metal PCB materials are very hard and cutting the PCB into smaller pieces can pose problems. Other considerations in selecting metal PCB materials are the chemicals in manufacturing and if the metal will react to them.
The thickness of metal cores in PCB base plates is typically 30 mil - 125 mil, but thicker and thinner plates are possible.
MCPCB copper foil thickness can be 1 - 10 oz.
MCPCBs can be advantageous to use for their ability to integrate a dielectric polymer layer with a high thermal conductivity for a lower thermal resistance.
Metal core PCBs transfer heat 8 to 9 times faster than FR4 PCBs. MCPCB laminates dissipate heat, keeping heat generating components cooler which results in increased performance and life.
Applications that generate a large amount of heat often cannot be adequately cooled using just traditional fans. Conductive cooling through metal core PCBs are an ideal production option.
MCPCBs are most widely found in LED technologies, as they reduce the number of LEDs required to produce a specific illumination. Light emitting diodes release a great amount of heat in applications such as:
Using a metal core PCB in these LED products and applications help to greatly reduce the heat emitted.
Other applications that are ideal for MCPCB integration are solar panels and motion control applications. We also offer other advanced circuit technology including microwave RF PCB, flex PCB and rigid flex PCBs.
The manufacturing process and design rules are similar to conventional PCBs. We provide metal core pcb prototype fabrication and mcpcb fabrication quantities for both aluminum core and heavy copper PCBs.
Thermal management PCBs or MCPCBs are processed with standard SMT assembly equipment in the PCB manufacturing process.
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We are ready and eager to turn your concepts into reality, from MCPCB manufacturing to assembly.