If LED technology is the lighting of the future, then the future is now. With a surge in popularity and several advantages, LEDs are the go-to choice over traditional lighting. LEDs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, but still emit some of their energy in the form of heat. To combat this, cooling elements are needed to dissipate the heat and ensure a high light yield and long service life for the lamps.
For these applications, Covestro created Makrolon® TC8030 (TC stands for “thermally conductive”) polycarbonate, which offers a high thermal conductivity of 20 W/m*K and has a UL 94 flame class rating of V-0 at 2.0 mm, with an f1 listing. When compared with aluminum, a material often used in these applications, Makrolon® TC8030 polycarbonate features comparable thermal conductivity but offers greater design freedom. This polycarbonate grade also weighs less, making it a perfect solution for lightweight LED lighting applications.
Covestro teamed up with Karelia University of Applied Sciences (UAS) and Finnish injection molding specialists Vesuto Oy to showcase what is possible with Makrolon® TC8030 polycarbonate. The initial objective of this project was to use this plastic to create cooling elements for LED luminaires that can be manufactured through injection molding. These cooling elements were compared with others made from different polymer-based materials. The verdict – Makrolon® TC8030 polycarbonate is highly effective in dissipating the heat generated by the LEDs on the built-in circuit boards, confirming its advantages over aluminum.
Makrolon® TC8030 polycarbonate has the ability to open the doors to a new generation of cooling elements thanks to the material’s easy and efficient processing through injection molding which results in a high-quality finished part.