October 8, 2019

What is LED Thermal Management?

Light Emitting Diodes–AKA LED lighting–are a wonderous advancement in lighting technology. They provide more lumens per watt than incandescent bulbs, and the amount of light emitted does not depend on the size or shape of the bulb. An LED bulb is also far more efficient–around 45%–than a typical Tungsten incandescent bulb which is around 5% efficient. LED bulbs also last a lot longer than incandescent bulbs, and LEDs are quickly becoming the standard for all types of lighting products.

Yet, LED lighting does come with some challenges. About 70% of the electricity used by an LED becomes heat, and LEDs work best around room temperature, so this heat is a problem. If the heat is not managed with some sort of thermal management solution, it can result in reduced efficiency in the LED, shorten the life of the bulb itself, and possibly causing damage to other components near it.

Luckily, the best way of providing an LED thermal management solution is through the use of an LED heat sink design near the near the junction of the diode.

Heat Sink Designs for LED Thermal Management

The composition of an LED heat sink design is typically aluminum because it is both lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to bend or extrude into the correct shape. And because heat transfer occurs at the surface of a heat sink, the best LED heat sink designs have a large surface area to radiate the heat away via conduction. For this reason, finned heat sink designs are often used for LED thermal management.

Heat Sink Shapes for LED Thermal Management

Because of the nature of many LED lighting products, round shaped heatsinks with lots of fins near the “base” of the bulb are quite common. The size of these fins can be adjusted based on if the LED is a low-powered or high-powered LED.
LED heat sink design
Some LED heat sink designs use a channel design, made to channel the heat away from sensitive areas of the unit either into a heat sink or other area where it can radiate the heat away. Some LED light bulb designs have these channels built into the shape and structure of the bulb itself.
Light bulb using a channeled LED thermal management solution
For some extremely high-powered LEDs, such as those used for outdoor lighting, need to use a bit more powerful of a thermal management solution such as adding thermal heat pipe technology to it, or even a fan to help radiate the heat more efficiently.

Getec Provides High Quality LED Thermal Management Solutions
Getec provides all sorts of LED thermal management solutions including extruded aluminum and folded fin heat sinks. For more information, please give us a call at 888-999-8499, contact us online, or send us an email at sales@getecna.com to talk to an LED thermal management solutions specialist today.