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An Introduction to Aluminum PCB

Printed circuit boards come in different shapes, types, and sizes. Moreover, they are constantly modified to fit technology requirements. One common type of PCB that has been improved to fit technology needs is Aluminum PCB. 

Aluminum printed circuit boards are a bit different from standard PCBs. Below is a detailed introduction to aluminum PCB. You will learn what Aluminum PCB is, its benefits, how it is manufactured, and its wide range of applications. 

What is Aluminum PCB?

Aluminum PCB, also named metal core PCB, is a printed circuit with a thin layer of dielectric material. Due to its numerous benefits, Aluminum PCB applications have increased dramatically.  

Standard printed circuit boards use FR4 as their base. However, aluminum PCB is unique because it uses an aluminum core as the base material. Hence, it is a great circuit board for applications that need more power. 

For many years, Aluminum PCB has been the game changer in the electronic sector. You will find it in many electronics, computers, automotive, and medical equipment. Also, PCBs are used in LED lighting and power systems. 

Benefits of Aluminum PCB

  1. Aluminum PCB is environmentally friendly and recyclable.

Aluminum PCB is easily recyclable and non-toxic. Thus, the element is friendly to the environment. Also, it is much easier to assemble aluminum substrate on the board than when using ceramics or other metals. 

  1. Aluminum PCBs can dissipate heat

Most high-end gadgets transmit signals in a very high amount. This means there is a risk of them burning down the circuit board because of overheating. But since Aluminum PCB has fast heat dissipation, it helps the device cool quickly. This boosts the performance of the device and prolongs its lifespan. 

  1. Aluminum is rigid yet flexible

Another benefit of aluminum PCB is that it is flexible and rigid at the same time. Hence, it is an element with durability that is not found in ceramic or fiberglass. Due to its durability, the board enjoys a long lifespan. 

  1. It is easier to manufacture

Due to a perfect combination of sturdiness and flexibility, it is easier to manufacture, such as CNC milling, bending, extruding, etc. Moreover, it eliminates the chances of breakage or damage during manufacturing. Hence, manufacturers of various electronic gadgets prefer to use Aluminum PCBs. 

  1. Aluminum is long-lasting and lightweight

Even though aluminum is durable, it is lightweight. Hence, it adds strength to the electronic device and also resilience. Moreover, it ensures the weight stays in a minimal state. This also means that aluminum is less costly compared to other elements. 

  1. Aluminum PCBs are economical

When you compare aluminum with copper, ceramic, and other materials, it is more affordable. This means the cost of manufacturing Aluminum PCBs is less than other circuit boards. 

How is Aluminum PCB manufactured?

Compared to other types of PCBs, Aluminum PCB is manufactured differently. Dielectric is added between the base and circuit layers during the manufacturing process. It is a thin layer of dielectric that is electrically insulating and thermally conductive. 

Once the dielectric layer is added, the copper foil or the circuit layer is etched. This is to give you the needed pattern. Due to the metal base and the thin dielectric layer, all heat is removed from the circuit. 

Aluminum PCB comprises three main layers: circuit layer, thermal insulation layer, and base layer. 

Circuit layer – the circuit layer of the Aluminum board has a copper foil. The foil is used in different weights, from one to ten ounces. 

Thermal insulation – the other base layer is thermal insulation. It is made up of ceramic polymer because it is good thermal resistance and viscoelastic. The coating is essential because it protects the board from thermal and mechanical stresses. 

The base layer – the next layer is the base layer, made up of aluminum alloy substrate. It is perfect for through-hole technology due to the aluminum in it. 

Different types of Aluminum PCBs

There are various types of Aluminum PCBs to choose from. However, the type of circuit board you select depends on the application. The main types of Aluminum PCBs are

Through-hole Aluminum PCBs – the through-hole Aluminum PCBs are pre-drilled. After that process, a dielectric is backfilled into that hole. 

Flexible Aluminum PCBs – The flexible dielectrics are used with these PCBs. This provides thermal conductivity, a high level of flexibility, and electrical insulation.  The product becomes very flexible when the dielectrics are used with aluminum material. Moreover, it can be formed in various shapes and helps eliminate costly connectors and fixtures. 

Hybrid Aluminum PCBs – Hybrid aluminum PCBs are mainly used in RF applications. In addition, they are known to provide good thermal performance. 

Aluminum PCBs’ main application

Due to the great features of Aluminum PCBs, many manufacturers use them in several applications. Some of the applications of Aluminum PCBs are:

Computer components – one of the main areas where you will find Aluminum PCBs is in the computer industry. The manufacturers use the circuit board in several components, including CPU boards, power supply components, floppy disks, and others. 

In audio gadgets – you will also find Aluminum PCBs in input and output amplifiers, soundbars, pre-amplifiers, and others. 

Power supply – switching regulators, AC and DC converts, SW switches, and most power supply items use Aluminum PCBs. 

Power modules – many power modules such as inverters and rectifier bridges use Aluminum PCBs because they are long-lasting. 

Lighting and lamps – modern lamps and lights use Aluminum PCBs because they are economical and practical. 

Communication gadgets – several communication devices such as filtering appliances and transmitter circuits consist of Aluminum PCBs. 

Final Word

Aluminum PCB is among the most used circuit boards. It is cost-effective, eco-friendly, and durable. Due to its durable features, it has become a favorite in many sectors, including communication, automotive, and IT industries. 

In addition, there are various types of Aluminum PCBs to choose from. However, the type of circuit board you select depends on the application. Also, make sure you get them from an experienced supplier or manufacturer. 

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An Introduction to Aluminum PCB

by Piping Mart time to read: 4 min