Benefits of Heavy Copper Power PCB

Heavy copper power PCB

Benefits of Heavy Copper Power PCB

Heavy copper power PCBs are built to withstand high current and elevated temperatures. They require a more stable dielectric material than standard FR-4 to prevent thermal strain and failures.

PCB designers gauge the amount of current a circuit board needs and then choose the appropriate copper thickness. They also determine the maximum temperature rise the board can withstand.


PCBs are exposed to a number of electrical stresses, including high currents and voltage, that can damage or degrade their quality. This is why it is important to choose a board that can sustain these pressures, such as a heavy copper power PCB. Heavy copper boards are more able to support these types of stress because they have a greater current carrying capacity and heat dissipation than standard PCBs. This type of board also has increased mechanical strength at connectors and plated-through holes, helping to prevent these connections from breaking under the stress of high current flow.

In addition, a heavy copper power PCB can handle high temperature, cold, and corrosion better than a standard PCB. This makes them an excellent choice for applications in the military, automotive, and computer industries, where circuits need to be protected against harsh environments.

The thickness of the copper in a heavy copper power PCB can be adjusted by using different plating methods, such as differential etching and high-speed/step plating. This allows the fabricator to achieve a higher current carrying capacity without sacrificing the mechanical strength of the traces.

It is also possible to mix heavy copper with standard features on a single PCB, known as PowerLink. This enables designers to reduce layer counts, save space and get lower impedance power distribution. However, these high-power PCBs require careful planning, as the differences in coefficient of thermal expansion between copper and the substrate can cause cracking and brittle failure in the long run.

Thermal Management

The extra thickness of heavy copper circuit boards allows them to carry higher currents and better distribute the heat generated in operation. This helps to prevent overheating of critical components, which can significantly reduce the performance and life of a printed circuit board.

Heavy copper circuit boards are also able to endure reoccurring thermal cycles, which can damage and destroy regular PCBs within seconds. This makes them well suited to high-current applications such as power inverters, welding machines, solar panels, and military equipment.

To achieve the best possible results, it’s crucial that designers carefully plan the layout of a Heavy copper power PCB heavy copper circuit board. This includes assessing the maximum current capacity and temperature rise of each track. This information can help designers gauge the right track width, which in turn helps them avoid wasting space on unneeded traces.

Heavy copper circuits are also able to withstand a wider range of temperatures, making them well-suited to extreme special environments. Additionally, they offer excellent primary-to-secondary and secondary-to-primary dielectric isolation, as the same copper is used on all the planes of a heavy copper PCB. This allows for the placement of secondary windings sandwiched between the primary windings and helps reduce leakage inductance. In addition to these features, the Heavy Copper Power PCB Supplier additional copper layers of a heavy copper circuit board provide increased mechanical strength at connector sites and in plated through holes.

Heat Dissipation

When current passes through copper traces, they create heat that dissipates through the circuit board. The amount of heat that a copper trace can withstand depends on its thickness. The thicker the trace, the more current it can carry without melting or causing damage to the board. Thicker copper traces also allow for lower layer counts, which allows for more components to be fitted onto the board.

Heavy copper PCBs are ideal for high-power, high-voltage applications. They are often used in electric vehicles, power tools, and other large devices that require high currents. The use of heavy copper in these devices helps ensure that the devices can operate in harsh environments and conditions.

While standard PCBs can be fabricated using copper foils that range from 3 to 10 ounces, heavy copper is designed with thicker copper layers that can reach up to 20 ounces. The PCB fabrication process uses etching and plating to add copper thickness to the sides of vias and plated holes. This improves mechanical strength and helps prevent plated hole failure due to corrosion.

Heavy copper plated vias can also be used to transfer heat from the board to an external heat sink. They can help to maximize the performance of exotic materials by ensuring that they are able to be utilized to their fullest potential without experiencing failure due to thermal stress.

High Current Capacity

A high current capacity is one of the key benefits of heavy copper PCBs. These circuit boards are designed to carry large amounts of electrical current for long periods of time, and they are also able to withstand elevated temperatures and recurring thermal cycling that can destroy an ordinary PCB in seconds.

These benefits are achieved through a combination of copper thickness and plating, as well as the choice of substrate materials. A standard PCB uses a combination of etching and plating to create the desired traces and planes, while a heavy copper power PCB will require additional plating processes to achieve the proper amount of copper.

The resulting thicker copper plating improves the mechanical strength of power circuitry and connector sites, which reduces the number of failures caused by thermal stress. Additionally, the increased mechanical strength of plated through holes and vias is essential for the handling of excessive current.

Traditionally, a designer adds duplicate layers of 3 or 4 oz copper in parallel to increase the current-carrying capacity of a PCB. However, this method can cause thermal problems that can damage the board over time.

A heavy copper PCB offers superior current-carrying capacity without the need for multiple layers of conductive foil. This is made possible through the use of a special etching process and specialized materials that have higher glass transition temperatures (Tg). The combination of these techniques results in straight trace sidewalls and negligible undercutting.

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