Metal Core PCBs use metal as the substrate. Its purpose is to keep the vital electronic components safe by diverting the heat flow to the heat sink or heat pipes. The common metals used are Aluminum, Copper, or steel alloy. The choice of selecting the perfect substrate depends on the application involved. These metal core PCBs are 8 to 9 times more efficient in dissipating the heat over standard FR-4 PCBs.
Metal Core PCB Structure
A Metal Core PCB consists of a metal base, a non-conducting (dielectric) layer, and a conductive copper layer at the top. Now, depending upon the number of copper layers the PCB has, it falls under either of the following categories:
Single-Layer Metal Core PCB
It consists of a single trace layer of copper conductor, a dielectric layer, and a metal base. The dielectric serves two purposes: It provides heat transfer from the vital components to the base plate and maintains excellent electrical isolation.
COB Metal Core PCB
It stands for Chip-on-board Metal Core PCB. This technology is somewhat different from the traditional one. It uses a microchip (aka Die) to dissipate the heat efficiently. The microchip creates a direct contact between the conductive layer and the metal base. Hence, the use of dielectric is omitted.
Double layer Metal Core PCB
It consists of two layers of copper conductor. Here, both the layers are present on the same side of the metalcore. It requires an additional pressing step to bond the layers of PCB together.
Double-sided Metal Core PCB
It also consists of two layers of copper conductors. But here, the metal core is present between these two copper layers. Vias connects both the copper layers together.
Multi-Layer Metal Core PCB
It consists of more than two layers of copper conductors. As the number of copper layers increases, the complexity involved in the manufacturing process increases. So, it requires much more technical experience to laminate the layers together.
By now you must have learned something about the Metalcore PCBs.
Advantages of Metal Core PCBs
Aluminum and Copper has better thermal conductivity and hence, used as a substrate material in the metal core PCBs. Compared to FR4 and CEM3 materials, a substrate made of metal is more reliable in protecting the electronic components from getting damaged.
The size of an object changes according to the temperature of its surroundings. And, the coefficient of thermal expansion is the deciding factor for the size change. As compared to FR4, metals have a low coefficient of thermal expansion, which removes heat efficiently and reduces the chance of PCB failure.
Metal substrates are more durable than ceramic or FR4 substrates. Besides, they provide strength to the entire board. Using a metal substrate reduces the chances of accidental damage to the PCB board in the manufacturing process.
If you want to fabricate your first Metal core PCB then PCBWay is the ideal PCB manufacturing company for this purpose.