Tuesday - March 8, 2016

Covestro develops special plastic for energy-efficient lighting

A new generation of LED cooling elements

Benefits of polycarbonate – excellent thermal conductivity, plenty of design freedom
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The specially developed polycarbonate Makrolon® TC8030 from Covestro has a comparable thermal conductivity to aluminum. Thus it is ideally suitable for the manufacture of cooling elements for LED lamps. Other than with aluminum, it shows plenty of design freedom and can be easily processed by means of injection molding.

LED is the lighting of the future, and its use is becoming more and more widespread. For this reason, and because of its almost unlimited potential applications, Covestro is supporting the energy-efficient technology with a range of material solutions. LEDs are much more efficient than conventional incandescent bulbs. Nonetheless, they still emit some of their energy in the form of heat. This heat must be dissipated via cooling elements to ensure a high light yield and long service life for the lamps.

For this application, Covestro has launched the special polycarbonate Makrolon® TC8030 (TC stands for “thermally conductive”), which has a high thermal conductivity of 20 W/m*K. “Compared to the aluminum typically used, this plastic offers both thermal conductivity and a high degree of design freedom,” said Axel Wetzchewald, head of marketing for LED applications in the Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America regions at Covestro.

Collaboration with Finnish partners
To better exploit the technical possibilities of Makrolon® TC8030, Covestro entered into a collaboration with Karelia University of Applied Sciences (UAS) and Finnish injection molding specialists Vesuto Oy. The initial objective of this project was to use this plastic to create cooling elements for LED luminaires that can be manufactured by means of injection molding. These were then compared with cooling elements made from other polymer-based materials. The results show that the polycarbonate material very effectively dissipates the heat generated by the LEDs on the built-in circuit boards.

“Makrolon® TC8030 has a comparable thermal conductivity to aluminum,” said project manager Dr. Kari Mönkkönen from Karelia University of Applied Sciences (UAS). “However, the plastic is lighter and offers greater design freedom, making it perfect for lightweight LED lighting solutions,” added Nikolai Ylimys, project member and designer at the university.

Veikko Viitanen, managing director of Vesuto Oy, is confident that the thermally conductive polycarbonate will open the doors to a new generation of cooling elements, because “despite its high viscosity, the material is easy to process to a high level of quality by means of injection molding.”

About Covestro:
With 2015 sales of EUR 12.1 billion, Covestro is among the world’s largest polymer companies. Business activities are focused on the manufacture of high-tech polymer materials and the development of innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction and the sports and leisure industries. Covestro, formerly Bayer MaterialScience, has 30 production sites around the globe and as of the end of 2015 employed approximately 15,800 people (full-time equivalents).

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This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Covestro AG. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Covestro’s public reports which are available on the Covestro website at Covestro assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.