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Electronic manufacturing industry
Why Aluminum PCB is Better than FR4 PCB

Aluminum PCB is the most common in metal PCB. It is a metal-based copper-clad laminate with good heat dissipation function. Generally, a single-sided aluminum PCB is composed of three layers, which are circuit layer (copper foil), insulating layer and metal base. Since the aluminum PCB has a heat dissipation layer and has a good heat dissipation function, it can effectively reduce the operating temperature of the components and prolong the service life of the product, so it is widely used in various fields.

Table of Contents

Why aluminum PCB is better than FR4 PCB?

Aluminum PCB has good processing performance and can be processed by hot and cold bending, cutting, drilling and other processing operations to produce circuit boards of various shapes and sizes. However, FR4 PCB is more prone to problems such as cracking and peeling and is more difficult to process. Therefore, aluminum PCBs are usually used in high-performance electronic products, such as LED lighting, automotive electronics, power supplies and other fields.

Aluminum PCB
Aluminum PCB

There are also some differences between aluminum PCB and FR4 PCB in terms of performance and application range.

First of all, aluminum PCB has better heat dissipation performance, which can effectively dissipate the heat generated by the circuit board quickly. This makes aluminum PCB very suitable for high-power, high-density circuit designs, such as LED lights, power modules, etc. In contrast, FR4 PCB has relatively weak heat dissipation performance and is more suitable for low-power circuit design.

FR4 PCB
FR4 PCB

Secondly, the aluminum PCB has a greater current-carrying capacity and is suitable for high-frequency, high-current circuit applications. In high-power circuit design, the current will generate heat, and the high thermal conductivity and good heat dissipation performance of the aluminum PCB can effectively dissipate the heat, thereby ensuring the reliability and stability of the circuit. The current carrying capacity of FR4 PCB is relatively small, so it is not suitable for high-power and high frequency circuit design.

In addition, the anti-seismic performance of the aluminum PCB is better than that of FR4 PCB, and it can better resist mechanical shock and vibration. Therefore, aluminum PCB has also been widely used in the design of electronic circuits in the fields of automobiles and railways. At the same time, the aluminum PCB also has good anti-electromagnetic interference performance, which can effectively shield electromagnetic waves and reduce circuit interference.

Of course, aluminum PCB PCBs also have some disadvantages. Due to its metal substrate, the price of aluminum PCB is higher, generally much more expensive than FR4 PCB. In addition, since the aluminum PCB is not easily bonded to the pins of general electronic devices, special treatment, such as metallization treatment, etc. is required, which increases the manufacturing cost. In addition, the heat insulation layer of the aluminum PCB also needs special treatment to ensure heat dissipation performance without affecting the signal transmission quality.

Different applications of aluminum PCB and FR4 PCB

FR4 PCBs are suitable for general circuit design and general electronic products. Aluminum PCBs are suitable for circuits with special requirements, such as: thick film hybrid integrated circuit, heat dissipation of power supply circuit, heat dissipation and cooling of components in the circuit, large-scale substrate that is difficult for ceramic substrate, and circuit whose reliability cannot be solved by using ordinary heat sink.

Classification of aluminum PCBs

Aluminum base copper clad laminates are divided into three categories:

Classification of aluminum PCBs
Classification of aluminum PCBs

·Universal aluminum base copper clad laminate, the insulating layer is composed of epoxy glass cloth bonding sheet;

·High heat dissipation aluminum base copper clad laminate, the insulating layer is made of high thermal conductivity epoxy resin or other resins;

·Aluminum-based copper-clad laminates for high-frequency circuits, and the insulating layer is composed of polyolefin resin or polyimide resin glass cloth bonding sheet.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, compared with FR4 PCB, aluminum PCB has better heat dissipation performance, current carrying capacity, anti-seismic performance and anti-electromagnetic interference performance, and is suitable for high-power, high-density, high-frequency circuit design. FR4 PCB is suitable for general electronic circuit design, such as mobile phones, laptop computers and other consumer electronics products. The price of aluminum PCBs is generally higher, but for high-demand circuit designs, choosing an aluminum PCB is a very important step.

To sum up, aluminum PCB and FR4 PCB are suitable for different types of circuit applications, with their own advantages and disadvantages. When selecting PCB materials, it is necessary to weigh various factors and choose the most suitable material according to specific application scenarios and requirements.

FAQ

Aluminum PCBs are printed Circuit Boards which contain a thin layer of conductive dielectric material. They are also known as Aluminum Clad, Aluminum base, MCPCB (Metal Clad Printed Circuit Board), IMS (Insulated Metal Substrate), Thermally Conductive PCBs etc.

FR4 is a class of printed circuit board base material made from a flame retardant epoxy resin and glass fabric composite. FR stands for flame retardant and meets the requirements of UL94V-0. FR4 has good adhesion to copper foil and has minimal water absorption, making it very suitable for standard applications.

Aluminum PCB has good processing performance and can be processed by hot and cold bending, cutting, drilling and other processing operations to produce circuit boards of various shapes and sizes. However, FR4 PCBs are more prone to problems such as cracking and peeling and are more difficult to process.

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