Metal Core PCB (MCPCB) or Insulated Metallic Substrate (IMS PCB) is a technology developed to overcome the thermal limitations of the FR4 material. Metal Core is a better choice than FR-4 and CEM-3 if your boards need to perform in high temperature environment.
Insulated Metal Substrate provides electrical isolation between the copper and the metal core by using a special dielectric with the peculiarity of having high thermal conductivity.
What are Metal core PCBs (MCPCBs)?
Metal Core PCBs or MCPCBs are the types of PCBs that contain a base metal material as opposed to the traditional FR4. The core is usually designed to redirect heat away from the components. The metal core is composed of a metal plate of a particular thickness which dissipates heat.
Metal core PCB materials and thickness
The metal core of the thermal PCB can be aluminum (aluminum base PCB), copper (copper base PCB or a heavy copper PCB) or a mixture of special alloys. The most common is an aluminum core PCB.
The thickness of metal cores in PCB base plates is typically 0.80 mm - 3.20 mm, but thicker and thinner plates are possible. MCPCB copper foil thickness can be 1 - 3 oz and up to 10oz base on requirement.
The thermally conductive dielectric layer thickness can be from 75μm, 100μm, 125μm, 150μm(3mil, 4mil, 5mil, 6mil).
Metal core PCB Stack-ups
Metal core PCB Advantages
Insulated Metal Substrate Technology offers a great list of beneﬁts when an application requires great heat dissipation.
Most engineers and designers rely on Metal Core PCB to take advantage of the following beneﬁts (compared to FR4 PCBs):
Superior heat dissipation
Eliminate heat sinks and other voluminous hardware
Great durability of Aluminum
Lightweight and strength
Metal core PCB Applications
PCBs that require a lot of power usually generate a lot of heat. If your PCBs need fast cooling it is better to use Metal Core PCB than FR4. The following list includes some of the most popular applications that work great with this technology:
Back light unit applications
Street safety applications (streetlights, lighting, etc.)
General lighting applications
System automotive LED applications
Power converters: telecom, industrial, high voltage regulator, power supplies
Hybrid/electric motor control applications
If you have any questions or need a PCB quote please send us your email with gerber data to firstname.lastname@example.org, we will get back to you asap.