One of the most important pieces of technology around to have ever been created is that of the PCBs.
Created in an effort to replace redundant wires, they have become an important mainstay of the technological world around us.
There is much that can be said about the PCBs, or Printed Circuit Boards.
Of it all, one thing that clearly stands out is the way this piece of technology has evolved, into the myriad of forms that it can be found in today.
One such kinds of PCBs which have become widespread in use, is that of Aluminum PCBs.
Called so because of the nature of the element used in their construction, they have been in use since the 1970s, and play a key role in the many technological advances that are used in our daily lives.
There is a lot that can be said about aluminum PCBs.
Details of the same are listed out in the points below.
1.) The General Design is a Three or Four-Layered Structure
One of the most important things to know about aluminum PCBs is about their general design.
Although variations certainly exist, the most common design of the PCBs that can be found is made up of a four-layered structure.
These include two layers below that are made purely of aluminum, on which there is a layer of dielectric material, and finally, a layer of copper.
The aluminum layer in turn, is comprised of a ?base membrane?, which acts as a foundation, on which there is what is called a ?base layer?. Then again, the two might be replaced by a single surface instead.
2.) The Heat Dissipation Advantage
One of the main reasons why aluminum PCBs are used, is because of their capacity to dissipate heat.
In many electronics, heating is a major problem, which if not treated, can have untoward consequences. This is something which the use of aluminum PCBs can resolve rather easily.
Given that the material eliminates the heat quickly, there is less likelihood for damage to the circuitry, or for that matter the entire device or system. In turn, it helps to extend the lifespan of the electronics, often by several times what would be the case otherwise.
3.) The Dimensional Stability of Aluminum PCBs
The heating of metals has an ?expanding? effect on them, in which the metal ?expands? on being exposed to a source of heat.
In the case of electronics, there is always a great deal of heat being produced and accumulated, during use. This heat in turn, can lead to the expansion of the metal components of the PCBs, and thereby lead to their damage in the long run.
Aluminum PCBsoffer an interesting advantage in this regard, as there is almost no expansion, even at slightly higher temperatures. For example, the heating of aluminum from 30?C to 140?C, only leads to an expansion of around 2.5-3%.
What this means for the circuitry is that the overall structural integrity is far more likely to be safe, in comparison to those that don?t use aluminum in their construction and design.
4.) LED Applications are One of the Biggest Users of Aluminum PCBs
Aluminum PCBs have a variety of applications.
One of the most important is that of LED lighting, which makes up a significant source of demand for aluminum PCBs.
These include everything from traffic signals and street lights to home lighting, and even the circuits inside monitors and televisions.
In simple words, they can and are used for just about any applications, where the primary purpose is lighting via the use of LEDs.
Of course, there are other applications as well for aluminum PCBs, such as high power scanners, power converters, general circuitry, etc.
5.) Manufacturing Aluminum PCBs can Prove to be a Challenge
As advantageous as PCBs may be, there are issues with regard to their manufacture.
It is because the construction of PCBs tends to require a greater degree of effort, in comparison to other designs. To be more specific, there are two main challenges, when it comes to the manufacture of aluminum PCBs.
One of the most important of all is that aluminum PCBs have very thick copper layers, meaning that the degree of etching and other finishes are much more intense, than it is in the case of other PCBs.
6.) They may be Expensive to Use
Although they are widespread in terms of applications, you may have to deal with higher prices, especially with regard to specific uses.
7.) It is not Always Pure Aluminum Being Used
As much as the name may suggest, it is not always pure aluminum being used.
On the contrary, the actual material being used may be an alloy of aluminum. While there are certainly a variety of alloys that are used, one of the most important is that of aluminum, magnesium and silumin, the latter of which is an alloy of silicon and aluminum.
This however may not always be the case. Whether the material being used is pure aluminum or an alloy, is usually dependent on the exact nature of the application, its requirement, and the budget of the clientele and so on.
8.) Aluminum PCBs are Relatively Eco-Friendly
A very good advantage of aluminum PCBs is that they are eco-friendly, in comparison to other PCBs.
This is because, in addition to requiring lower levels of energy to manufacture, they are easier to recycle and dispose. It is in simple words, a lot easier to recycle a metal like aluminum, in comparison to many of the other materials that are in use today.
9.) Aluminum PCBs are Cheaper to Manufacture
Given that one of the primary materials used for their manufacture, aluminum, is available in the earth?s crust in abundance, the cost of manufacturing the same is quite less.
This makes them quite affordable in general, although depending on the applications and specific requirements, this may not always be the case.
Last but not the least, it should be added that there are indeed many more things in addition to the above, when it comes to aluminum PCBs.
The above are to be considered as a starting point on getting to know the basics about aluminum PCBs, its strengths and limitations, and nothing more.