Heavy Copper PCB
Heavy copper pcb is a PCB with a thicker conductive foil than standard circuit boards. This allows large current and high-power circuits to be integrated together with control circuits in a single board.
This also provides advantages such as reduced layer count, low impedance power distribution, and smaller footprints. However, it requires careful consideration of the stackup consultation with a fabricator.
High Current Capacity
Many electrical products require heavy current to operate. This current passes through etched copper tracks on a circuit board. The width of these traces determines their current carrying capacity. PCB designers can increase their width to achieve the necessary current capacity, but this can compromise other design factors like track and gap spacing and overall mechanical strength. A more practical solution is to use a thicker copper layer on the inner layers of the board, called heavy or thick copper. This enables large PCB-cross-sections for high current outputs and enhances efficiency with better heat management.
A PCB fabricated with heavy copper can also tolerate frequent exposure to excessive current, elevated temperatures and recurring thermal cycling that can do harm to a regular circuit board within seconds. This makes it compatible with harsh environments such as defense and aerospace industry products and power adapters/alternators.
PCBs containing heavy copper are used in rail traction systems and solar power converters to handle high current loads. These devices can dissipate more heat than standard PCBs, which reduces their operating temperature and extends their lifespan.
PCB manufacturers can plate up to 20 oz of copper on a single side of a multilayer board by using a special plating process known as Extreme Copper. This is a more cost-effective solution than producing separate boards with high-current and control circuits. It’s also possible to mix standard and heavy-copper features on a single board, which can save both space and cost.
High Temperature Capability
Copper is a great conductor of heat. When it comes to heavy copper pcb, its high thermal conductivity is very useful for devices to dissipate heat more quickly. This helps devices run stably. It also protects devices from sudden shutdowns caused by the inability to control the heat. This way, you can rely on your device to work well for a long time.
The thickness of a copper conductor can affect the current-carrying capacity of a PCB, which is why it is important to take its thickness into account during the circuit design process. A thicker copper plating is usually necessary to support high-current and high-temperature applications, but it can also lead to a higher manufacturing cost.
It is advisable to consult with a professional to ensure the right PCB design for heavy copper pcb your project. A qualified PCB manufacturer will be able to help you achieve the results you are looking for without compromising on quality or reliability.
Using heavy copper in your PCB will enable you to reduce the size of the board while maintaining the same power-carrying capability as standard FR4 PCBs. However, it is essential to understand that these boards require more time and resources to fabricate than regular FR4 PCBs due to their thicker plating. It is best to discuss these limitations with the fabricator during the PCB design phase so that they can plan accordingly.
High Resistance to Thermal Cycling
Heavy copper pcbs have a significant advantage over standard PCBs in terms of the ability to withstand high current levels and heat dissipation. This is due to the fact that thicker copper allows large PCB-cross-sections for handling high current loads and encourages efficient heat transfer. This type of PCB is popular in high-tech products with multiple functions and miniature volume, as well as for military equipment, solar panels, automotive products and welding plants.
The high thermal resistance of thick copper also helps to avoid thermal stresses and cracks in the substrate material. This is important because a sudden change in temperature can cause cracks Heavy Copper PCB Supplier and layer separation, which can compromise the integrity of the circuit board. In addition, heavy copper is better at dissipating heat from the components in a short time, thereby reducing stress on the substrate.
When using thick copper, you need to choose a suitable substrate material and design the copper layer on top of it carefully. The thickness of the copper layer should match the glass transition temperature (Tg) of the substrate, and the etching process should be optimized for high copper plating density and fast dry times.
Another consideration is the choice of solder mask color. Green solder mask is the best option for heavy copper pcbs, because it provides the most flexibility when it comes to defining trace separations and pad sizes.
PCBs must be able to withstand high current, high temperature and frequent thermal cycles without failing. They must also be able to dissipate the excess heat generated by the current flowing through the copper traces. To do this, the traces must have a large cross-section and be made of thick copper. In addition, they must be coated with special dielectric materials to improve their weather resistance.
Heavy copper pcb is capable of handling these requirements, thanks to the high current capacity and power transmission capabilities of the copper used in its construction. These benefits make it ideal for applications with high power and current demands, such as military/defense equipment, automotive products, solar panels, welding equipment, and industrial controls.
While there are no set rules for how much copper a circuit board must contain to qualify as heavy copper, the industry typically defines it as having 3 or more ounces of copper on any layer of the board. This amount of copper is considerably higher than that found on regular FR4 boards, and it can significantly increase the reliability of the circuit board.
To fabricate a PCB with heavy copper, it must be manufactured using specialized etching and plating techniques. This process adds thickness to the walls of plated through holes, which can help strengthen them against the stress of multiple thermal cycles. It is important to discuss the fabrication methods and requirements with your fabricator early in the design process.