There are many ways to make a printed circuit board. But there is one type that is known for being effective for thermal dissipation, and that is aluminum PCBs. It may be referred to by other names, including aluminum clad, metal clad printed circuit board or even thermally conductive printed circuit board. They all come down to having the same base material – aluminum – and performing the same way.
These types of boards have a thermal clad layer which disperses heat quite efficiently. At the same time, the layer is also cooling components which results in an increase in the overall performance of your PCB.
When constructing an aluminum PCB, there will be three layers. The circuit layer which is typically made of copper. Then there is the insulation layer that is a thermal insulation. The base is then the aluminum substrate.
By going with Candor’s aluminum PCBs, you are getting not just quality in the material. But you are also getting high quality in the manufacturing processes and customer service. Here at Candor, we are always pushing the limits of the technology used to develop and created printed circuit boards. Whether it be through the types of materials used or the processes we have created, the result is a beautifully manufactured printed circuit board that meets all requirements you provide.
Let’s look at aluminum printed circuit boards a bit closer to see why you would use one and what their advantages are.
Aluminum PCB Use Cases
If your top concern is of heat displacement within the board, using aluminum is your best option. The metal is excellent at dispersing the heat in a way that is best compared to other metals used in PCBs. Any design that would be significantly improved by better controlling the temperature and displacing the heat, aluminum PCBs would be used.
An aluminum PCB would be most beneficial for places like automotive and power electronics, or anything else that heat would be harmful to the components. Using aluminum eliminates the need for having forced air in the design. The result is fewer components needed and a lower design cost.
You would also find aluminum PCBs with LED lighting, whether it be interior or exterior lighting. LEDs use high amounts of current without overheating. When a light overheats, it becomes vulnerable to burning out and breaking. Because LEDs are known for having a long lifespan, the heat needs to be displaced in a way to prevent overheating. An aluminum PCB would be used in this case.
Advantages of Aluminum PCBs
There are many advantages of using an aluminum PCB. There are five main benefits to this type:
Aluminum is recyclable and non-toxic which is better for you and the environment. With how it is manufactured, it also conserves energy because it is so easy to work with.
There is an abundance of aluminum, and it is easy to mine. That means the cost to use it is lower than other metals.
Aluminum is strong metal that has the strength other materials like fibreglass does not. Because of the strength and durability, it makes for a great base with lower chances of breaking.
Aluminium is quite light while still being reliable, resilient and durable.
Aluminum is excellent for transferring heat away from the vital components within the board. Too much heat on these components could result in severe damage to your board.
Types of Aluminum PCB
There are three main types of Aluminum PCBs:
1. Flexible Aluminum:
A flexible dielectric is used for these types of board. It significantly improves the flexibility. When there is a space constraint in the design, a flexible PCB is used to fit into different shapes better than a rigid board could.
2. Hybrid Aluminum
When working with RF application, a hybrid aluminum PCB is typically used. Working with RF requires a uniform plating that Candor exceeds with through or metal-backed plating.
3. Through-Hole Aluminum
A pre-drilled, or post laminated drilled aluminum base is used in these types of circuit boards. There is a substantial amount of heat tolerance with this technology, as well as strong physical connections and easier prototyping.