First, let’s know what a PCB is, then we move over to its components and recent upgrades to this device.
What is a PCB?
To start with, a PCB is basically a physical support where electronic and electrical components are installed and interconnected between them. These components can be connectors, resistors, diodes, capacitors, chips and more. A closer look at the computer shows that there are multiple flat boards with a lot of components glued to it. This is referred to as the motherboard and it is made up of a PCB and the components that we have mentioned.
To connect each element on a PCB, we use a series of extremely thin copper conductive tracks that generate a rail, conductor, as if it were a cable. In the simplest circuits, we only have conductive tracks on one or both sides of the PCB, but in more complete ones we have electrical tracks and even components stacked in multiple layers of them.
The main support for these tracks and components is a combination of fiberglass reinforced with ceramic materials, resins, plastic and other non-conductive elements. Although components such as celluloid and conductive paint tracks are currently being used to manufacture flexible PCBs.
General applications of the PCB
Medical: Pacemakers, imaging equipment, medication delivery systems, wireless controllers.
Military: Weapon guidance systems, communication systems, aircraft missile launch detectors.
Aerospace: Radar equipment, GPS, radio communication systems, control tower systems, sensors.
Telecommunications: signal processing systems, wireless communication systems communication satellites, portable units, and base stations..
Automotive: Electronic control module, transmission controls, LCD screens, air conditioning systems, audio systems.
Manufacturing: CCTV surveillance systems, industrial air conditioners, control panels, test equipment, industrial automation systems, and electrical switches.
Consumer appliances: Ovens, TV remote controls, washing systems, lighting systems, solar energy systems, UV water purifiers.
With advancements in technology, there has been an upgrade in the conventional PCBs. Today, there is the aluminum PCBs which are designed to withstand damage from the more harsh environmental conditions such as water and heat. This is also upgraded to enhance a more effective transmission.
Let’s look at the Aluminum PCBs
Aluminum Printed Circuits Boards
They consist of a metal plate base covered by a thin dielectric layer (typically an epoxy base layer) and in this case instead of using the usual base material for the circuit (ceramic), aluminum is used as the carrier for copper
Thanks to this type of structure, the printed circuit board in aluminum PCB, can accommodate components only on one side of the copper and in most applications the base plate is connected to a heat sink to provide cooling, generally using thermal grease and screws.
For metal core PCBs there are many combinations of aluminum thickness, insulating layer, and copper and are suitable for applications where the electronics handle very high currents of several hundred amps, with the need for heat dissipation and mechanical robustness.
Fields of application of the aluminum PCB
Lighting: high power LEDs, street lamps, headlights
Automotive: control units, inverter, switching, voltage regulators