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20 The PCB Magazine • December 2017 by Anaya Vardya and Dave Lackey AMERICAN STANDARD CIRCUITS A designer may choose from among many options to help dissipate the heat generated by various PCB components. This article primarily focuses on options that utilize metal to attach directly to the PCB during the manufacturing process to help with the heat dissipation pro- cess. Note that some people refer to these types of PCBs as thermal clad or metal clad PCBs (MCPCBs) while we call them IMPCBs. When metal is attached to the PCB, the bonding material can either be thermally con- ductive but electrically isolative (insulated met- al PCBs or metal core PCBs) or, in the case of RF/ microwave circuits, the bonding material may be both electrically and thermally conductive. RF designers usually have the bonding materi- al thermally and electrically conductive because they are using this not only as a heatsink but also as part of the ground layer. The design con- siderations are quite different for these different applications. This article will focus on the IMPCB design considerations and things you should be dis- cussing with your PCB supplier to ensure that you get a good quality PCB. It is not possible to go in great detail so we always recommend col- laborating with your PCB supplier about your specific design and how to end up with the most cost-effective solutions. Some of the applications of IMPCBs are: • Power Conversion: An IMPCB offers a variety of thermal performances, is compatible with mechanical fasteners, and is highly reliable • LEDs: Using IMPCBs assures the lowest possible operating temperatures for maximum brightness, color and life • Motor Drives: Dielectric choices for IMPCBs provide the electrical isolation needed to meet operating parameters and safety agency test requirements • Solid State Relays: An IMPCB offers a very thermally efficient and mechanically robust substrate FEATURE

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