Polyurethane Resins Help LEDs Perform Under Tough Conditions
Over the past 10 years, LEDs — or light emitting diodes — have become commonplace in both residential and commercial lighting thanks to their energy efficiency and long life. In addition, LEDs small size and relatively light weight have increased the applications for their use.
However, when LEDs are used in harsh environments — such as outdoors, underwater or even in aerospace applications — they must be protected into order to improve their reliability and take full advantage of their benefits. Moisture, cold, wind, pressure, dust and other environmental factors can all take their toll. Recently, resin encapsulation systems have been developed as a way to protect the delicate electronics of solid-state lighting systems.
Obviously, when covering a light, clarity of the material is key. Any distortion or dulling of the light output will reduce the LED’s effectiveness. Polyurethane resins are being used with great success. The resins can be applied manually or by machine for large-scale applications. The resin is designed to be injected into the housing and flow around the LED and other components, creating a durable, crosslinked polymer.
Different formulations of polyurethane can be used for different effects, including a broad range of colors and light diffusions. They can also help protect against UV rays (a consideration in outdoor applications) fresh and salt water (for use in swimming pools and on boat decks) and cold temperatures (for use on planes).
As LEDs are deployed in harsher and more varied environments, polyurethane will help ensure that they deliver on their benefits of efficacy and long life.