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Ceramic VS Fr4 Printed Circuit PCB Board

If you are using a printed circuit board, you can use either a standard FR4 board or a metal core printed circuit board (MCPCB). Ceramic printed circuit boards are a metal core PCB that you might prefer. But we need to know the difference between the standard FR4 board and the metal core board so that we can make the best choice for different uses.
Ceramic PCBs can only be seen in high-end products, and low-end products will not. It gradually replaces the entire printed circuit board to reduce design and manufacturing complexity while improving performance.

Thermal conductivity

With outstanding operating temperature, low expansion coefficient, high thermal conductivity, good insulation and thermal properties, the material itself is different, and ceramics have advantages over MCPCB. Ceramic PCBs exhibit high thermal conductivity. Ceramic substrates such as aluminum oxide, aluminum nitride and yttrium oxide are highly thermally conductive materials that rapidly and efficiently transfer heat away from hot spots to dissipate heat throughout the surface. PCB material (FR-4) is epoxy based and has poor thermal conductivity leading to hot spots, which reduces the lifetime of most semiconductor junctions. The thermal conductivity of alumina is about 20 times that of FR4. The thermal conductivity of aluminum nitride and silicon carbide is about 100 times, and the thermal conductivity of cerium oxide is higher. Boron nitride has the highest thermal conductivity so far.

(source from https://www.micropt.com/ceramics-vs-fr4.htm)

Ceramic plates have other benefits that are particularly useful in multilayer boards. The high thermal conductivity helps prevent hot spots from forming on the surface and internal circuit layers because the heat transfer throughout the board is more uniform. In contrast, FR4 relies on metal structures or active cooling to transfer heat away from certain locations or layers of the board and is more likely to form hot spots on the FR4 PCB.

Ceramic PCBs offer the best solution to prevent thermal cycling problems because they share a compatible CTE with lead-free ceramic chip carriers for higher thermal conductivity, higher stability and inertia. Three ceramic PCB practice catalogs: high temperature co-fired ceramic PCB, low temperature co-fired ceramic PCB and thick film ceramic PCB. Ceramics have ideal mechanical strength and can withstand high mechanical loads, including strong vibrations and shocks. This means that for the same applied force, the ceramic plate will tend to deform less than FR4.

(source from https://www.tempoautomation.com/blog/the-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-ceramic-multilayer-pcbs/)

Metal core PCB materials other than aluminum and tantalum may include copper and steel alloys. Steel alloys provide stiffness that is not available in copper and aluminum, but are not as effective in heat transfer. As part of a printed circuit board, copper has the best transfer and heat dissipation capabilities, but it's a bit expensive - so companies that manufacture or buy many printed circuit boards often choose aluminum as a cheaper but still more efficient heat - a replacement for FR4 boards.


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