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Printed circuit board technologies for thermal management

William Burr (BPA Consulting Ltd, Leatherhead, UK)
Nick Pearne (BPA Consulting Ltd, Leatherhead, UK)
Francesca Stern (BPA Consulting Ltd, Leatherhead, UK)

Circuit World

ISSN: 0305-6120

Article publication date: 1 February 2013




The purpose of this paper is to a provide short introductory overview of metal in board (MiB) circuit technologies for use in thermal management applications.


The paper details the types of metal in printed circuit boards (PCBs) that are possible and the mix of key features each exhibits. These combinations offer a mix of capabilities in thermal management, current conduction, interconnect density, material usage and cost that can be chosen to suit a specific application. Examples of these board types and their uses are considered.


Metal core and insulated metal substrate (IMS) PCBs are categories of PCB technologies which provide enhanced thermal management and current carrying capability. MiB technologies are based on conventional printed circuit materials and processes. This gives MiB a range of thermal and current handling characteristics which are particularly suited to a number of key existing and emerging applications.

Research limitations/implications

Further research and development in materials, processes and designs will help broaden the applicability of these types of boards, enabling them to encompass even more thermal management applications.


The paper shows that with 15 different types of metal core and metal backed PCB technologies available to handle thermal dissipation in power electronics, there is one to suit almost every application. This current and emerging portfolio of MiB types offers solutions which can handle thermal loads associated with power densities from about 0.25 W/cm2 to 10‐15 W/cm2 and currents from 20 A up to approximately 1000 A.



Burr, W., Pearne, N. and Stern, F. (2013), "Printed circuit board technologies for thermal management", Circuit World, Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 9-12.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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