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In this passage we are going to talking about the differences of ceramic PCB, fr-4 and MCPCB. It’s a good idea to understand the distinctions between standard FR4 boards and metal core boards. Please follow us to learn about the knowledge of PCB.

What are the differences FR4 VS MCPCB?

One of the main reasons why you would avoid FR4 vs. a ceramic circuit board or other MCPCB board has to do with heat transfer. Ceramic PCBs like aluminum nitride (AlN) and aluminum oxide (Al203) are extremely thermally conductive.  FR4 PCB material is not. If you are using your boards in applications where heat is a real issue, like LED lighting, you will probably want to move away from standard FR4 boards towards ceramic boards or other metal core PCBs, as metal core boards can more easily carry excess heat away from hot spots that can ultimately damage the board by reducing the life of semiconductor junctions.

Other metal core PCB materials in addition aluminum and beryllium can include copper and steel alloy. Steel alloys provide a stiffness that you will not get with copper and aluminum, but are not as effective at heat transfer. Copper has the best ability to transfer and dissipate heat as part of your printed circuit boards, but it is somewhat expensive — so companies on a budget producing or purchasing many printed circuit boards will often opt for aluminum as a cheaper but still highly effective heat-dissipating alternative to FR4 boards.

Aluminum PCB

For most businesses, the most cost-effective solution will be metal core printed circuit boards with an aluminum base. You get good rigidity and thermal conductivity at a more reasonable price. For this reason, if you order metal core printed circuit boards and do not specify copper, you can usually expect an aluminum core.

How metal core PCBS dissipate heat?

The reason metal core PCBs are so much more effective at dissipating heat than FR4 boards is due to their thermal conductivity dielectric material, which serves as a thermal bridge from the IC components to the metal plate, automatically conducting heat through the core to a heat sink. If you have FR4 boards, you must add a topical heat sink to transfer heat through the board or it will create potentially damaging hotspots.

Advantages of MCPCBS

In addition to preventing hot spots, a metal core PCB’s thermal conductivity properties also result in less thermal expansion and, as a result, greater dimensional stability. Thermal expansion can cause different layers of the board to take on different shapes or sizes, affecting the integrity and functionality of the board. Protection from thermal expansion is desirable.

Where would I use a ceramic PCB or metal core PCB?

It’s important to understand that there are many circumstances where the use of an FR4 board is indicated and perfectly acceptable. Certain applications, however, will call for a ceramic or other metal core PCB to avoid putting your product at risk. These include:

  • LED lights, especially spotlights and high-current LEDs
  • Cars, especially power controllers, variable optical systems, exchange converters and power regulators for cars
  • Industrial power equipment
  • Printers
  • IC arrays
  • Semiconductor refrigeration devices
  • Audio amplifiers
  • High power transistors and transistor arrays
  • Solar cell substrates
  • Other power applications, like DC converters and regulators

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