PCBs or Printed Circuit Boards have been around for a quite some time.
Ever since the technological revolution began a few decades ago, there has been a marked use of PCBs everywhere.
This rise has certainly been something of a leap for electronics.
Rather than having inefficient wires do the work, it was found that using printed circuit proved to be a better alternative.
And indeed, PCBs are today being used for a variety of technological applications, ranging from toys to satellites, and everything in between.
It is understandable as to why they are popular. The lack of wires, complex designs and general sturdiness makes for a very desirable technological option.
In the early days of PCBs, the technology was still evolving, with no clear understanding on the ?right way? to design it all.
With the passage of time however, things started to become better, with changes being applied to everything from construction to the materials of choice.
The process is certainly continuing right now, given the amount of research and development going on around the world. One interesting PCB design that came out of works like these, and others, was that of the aluminum PCBs.
As the name would suggest, aluminum PCBs have their basic constructions around the element Aluminum.
The reason for the usage of Aluminum is several, which makes them far more useful that PCBs made using other materials.
Although they may sound like revolutionary pieces of technology, they are really old, and have been around for decades. One of the earliest uses of Aluminum PCBs was in the 1970s, when the element started to be used for PCB applications.
The metal was chosen because it was found to be very efficient for conducting electricity, easy to work with and had great thermal conductivity.
There is much that can be said about aluminum PCBs.Of it all, some of the most important details about the same, are explained in the points below.
1.) The Name Suggests the Nature of the Design
As the name would suggest, aluminum PCBs are made using aluminum.
The material is in fact used for a variety of reasons, which will be explained further below.
Also to be added here is that the material used need not always be pure aluminum. On the contrary, the material of choice is often that of an alloy of aluminum, often containing materials such as magnesium and silicon.
But it is to be understood that the many properties of the metal is the reason why it is chosen for the purpose.
In addition to this, it should also be known that there are other materials that are used as well in the manufacture of this variety of PCBs.
2.) The Common Design is a Three or Four Layered One
While this is not always the case, the fact is that aluminum PCBs tend to come in a design characterized by three or four layers.
At the bottom, one can find one or two layers of aluminum, on top of which there is a layer of dielectric material. On the top of it all, is a layer of copper.
As already mentioned, this is but the general design that is used for aluminum PCBs. There may be applications in which the exact structure may be changed, in favor of something else.
3.) The Main Reasons for Using Aluminum
There are several reasons for the usage of aluminum in these PCBs.
One of the most important of all is the fact that the metal has a good potential for conducting electricity, has the ability to dissipate heat quickly, and a relatively low degree of expansion on exposure to heat.
The first advantage, i.e. of having a high degree of conductivity, is great given that it helps to make the circuit energy efficient, and therefore faster.
The ability to dissipate heat on the other hand, allows for the circuits to last longer, given that the heat is lost from the assembly fast enough as to not cause any damage.
The low degree of expansion on the other hand, allows for the circuit to last longer, as there is little to no structural damage, caused by long term use of the same.
4.) The Cost Factor
While the use of aluminum PCBs may be expensive, the more general designs tend to be cheaper to manufacture and design.
A key reason for this is that the material being used, aluminum is fairly cheap in comparison to other metals in the marketplace.
As a whole however, the pricing of aluminum PCBs in most cases tend to be relatively cheap, making them an economic choice to go for.
5.) They are Durable & Lightweight
Another reason why aluminum PCBs make for a great pick, is because they are lightweight and durable, both of which are the characteristics of aluminum.
Aluminum is generally known as a lightweight material, which is why it has found large scale applications in the manufacture of aircrafts and helicopter. In addition to this, it also offers a high degree of structural strength, making it an ideal choice for applications that require structural integrity and strength.
The two characteristics in turn, mean that this variety of PCBs, are excellent for a variety of uses.
6.) The Applications for Aluminum PCBs are Very Specific
Although aluminum PCBs can and are used for a variety of applications, one of the most important uses of the same is in the case of LEDs and other lighting applications.
In fact, almost all technologies that use LED based lighting technologies are made possible because of aluminum PCBs in their assemblies.
The exact usage of the same includes everything from traffic lights to surgical lights, and indeed even the latest LED monitors and televisions.
To sum up, aluminum PCBs are one of the more specialized forms of PCBs, used for very specific applications.
There is indeed a lot more that can be said about this technology in addition to that which is mentioned above.
Think of the above as a rough introduction to this concept, and feel free to look up on the same for further understanding about this interesting piece of technology.