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Metal Core
PCB / MCPCB

What is a Metal Core PCB (MCPCB)?

A Metal Core Printed Circuit Board (MCPCB), or a thermal PCB, is a type of PCB that has a metal material as its base for the heat spreader portion of the board. The purpose of the core of an MCPCB is to redirect heat away from critical board components and to less crucial areas such as the metal heatsink backing or metallic core. Base metals in the MCPCB are used as an alternative to FR4 or CEM3 boards.

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Metal Core PCB Materials and Thickness

The metal core of the thermal PCB can be aluminum (aluminum core PCB), copper (copper core 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 30 mil - 125 mil, but thicker and thinner plates are possible.

MCPCB copper foil thickness can be 1 - 10 oz.

Metal Core PCB with Aluminum Core

Metal Core PCB with Aluminum Core

Advantages of MCPCB

MCPCBs can be advantageous to use for their ability to integrate a dielectric polymer layer with a high thermal conductivity for a lower thermal resistance.

Metal core PCBs transfer heat 8 to 9 times faster than FR4 PCBs. MCPCB laminates dissipate heat, keeping heat generating components cooler which results in increased performance and life.

Copper Core PCB

Heavy Copper Core PCB
Photo Credit: Robert Tarzwell

Metal Core PCB Uses
LED Applications & More

Applications that generate a large amount of heat often cannot be adequately cooled using just traditional fans. Conductive cooling through metal core PCBs are an ideal production option.

MCPCBs are most widely found in LED technologies, as they reduce the number of LEDs required to produce a specific illumination. Light emitting diodes release a great amount of heat in applications such as:

  • 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
  • Photovoltaic

Using a metal core PCB in these LED products and applications help to greatly reduce the heat emitted.

Other applications that are ideal for MCPCB integration are solar panels and motion control applications. We also offer other advanced circuit technology including microwave RF PCB, flex PCB and rigid flex PCBs.

MCPCB Manufacturer

The manufacturing process and design rules are similar to conventional PCBs. We provide metal core pcb prototype fabrication and mcpcb fabrication quantities for both aluminum core and heavy copper PCBs.

Thermal management PCBs or MCPCBs are processed with standard SMT assembly equipment in the PCB manufacturing process.

Call us at 800.SFC.5143 or get an instant PCB quote.
We are ready and eager to turn your concepts into reality, from MCPCB manufacturing to assembly.

MCPCB - close up

MCPCB - Close-up
Photo Credit: Robert Tarzwell