LED lighting is already one of the most energy-efficient developed technologies on the market due to the durable and long lasting performance compared to conventional lighting technologies. LED lights have been hailed as the future of interior and exterior lighting as they use very little energy, have an increased lifespan and, unlike regular energy-saving bulbs, they produce an instantly bright light when switched on.
However, although more energy efficient, LED’s generate high heat, meaning thermal management is critical to allow LED systems to operate at full capacity. Materials that make up the lighting systems need to be able to withstand high temperatures and usage to prevent downtime and repair costs due to failure.
In today’s elastomer market, the range of rubbers available to lighting engineers and designers is extensive. So much so, that when analysing the list of rubber properties, it is very easy to get lost in a maze of grades, forms, specifications, thickness’s and hardness’s. Failure to choose the correct sealing material often leads to failure in application. This is commonly caused by water, moisture or dust ingress within electrical enclosures causing downtime and repair costs. Therefore it is vital to analyse and choose the correct materials to ensure failure is prevented.
Why Use Silicone Rubber?
Silicone rubber excels at high temperatures and provides excellent sealing properties for LED lighting systems and electrical enclosures that are exposed to outdoor conditions. Due to silicones’ extreme temperature resistance, chemical stability and low compression set, it is the material of choice in many LED lighting applications as it performs comfortably with high heat generated from the diodes.
Silicone also has excellent environmental resistance allowing for use in outdoor applications where protection from weathering is critical for performance.
Silicone Rubber Applications for LED
LED Street Lighting Gaskets
kSil™ can be used in outdoor, high powered LED street and stadium lighting to provide excellent
sealing preventing water and dust ingress. Due to silicone’s flexibility it can conform to uneven
surfaces ensuring a tight seal is achieved to protect the electronics within the casing.
Road Tunnel Lighting
kSil™ sheeting and expanSil™ sponge extrusions can both be applied as gaskets and seals for
tunnel lighting. LED lighting allows tunnels to be well lit, increasing the visibility and safety of
drivers, whilst at the same time being more energy efficient.
High powered LED lights are used at all airports around the world providing clear bright light to
ensure the safe landing of aircraft. Heat and environmental resistance is critical when sealing
runway lighting systems to prevent fogging which may affect the light quality. kSil™ and
expanSil™ silicone gaskets are the material of choice in many runway lighting enclosures and
can achieve IP ratings of IP65 and IP66.
Outdoor Signage & Electric Displays
An increase in use of electronic signage lit by LED lighting has seen silicone being used more
frequently for sealing the units. LEDs allow advertisements to stand out, especially at night giving
a clearer image and message to the public. With heat generated by the lighting, silicone is well
suited to cope with high temperatures as well as being resistant to weathering, protecting the unit
from water ingress and failure.
Offshore Rig Lighting
With extreme weather conditions and high power demand, offshore LED lighting systems need
high performance silicone seals to prevent water and dust ingress. With its superior resistance to
Ozone, UV and other environmental elements, as well as its extreme temperature resistance,
silicone is the ideal material to be used in LED lighting systems in the harshest of environments
such as oil and gas rigs.
kSil™ Benefits for LED Lighting Seals
kSil™ silicone sheets and rolls are manufactured and supplied in a variety of forms – Solid, Sponge (cellular) and Fabric Reinforced. kSil™ benefits include:
- Smooth Skin – better sealing performance
- UL94-V0 and V1 approved grades
- Low smoke/toxicity grades
- Closed Cell Sponge – Low water and dust ingress
- Low Compression Set and Deflection
- Adhesive Backed (PSA)
- Light Weight
- Flexible – Easily Applied
- Vibration Dampening
- Extreme Temperature Range: +230°C to -60°C (+446°F to -76°F)
- Weather Resistant – UV, Ozone, Frost, Rain – ideal for outdoor LED applications
- Low out-gassing
- IP65 and IP66 achieved (subject to design of components)
Thermally Conductive Silicone – disperseSil™
As overheating in electrical applications is becoming a common issue in today’s society, Silicone Engineering were recently asked by a major electrical manufacturer in the US to develop a silicone material to thermally conduct heat. Silicone has naturally insulating properties which challenged our technical Laboratory team to develop a silicone that does the opposite and disperses heat.
After many months of formulating, tests and trials Silicone Engineering recently developed disperseSil™, a closed cell sponge that is designed to disperse heat away from the application to act as thermal interface. The material offers high thermal conductivity and electrical isolation allowing the heat to pass through to the material and away from electrical components prone to overheating. This allows systems to run more effectively and at higher power whilst the material is controlling the temperature within the source.
At the same time disperseSil™ provides all the high performance properties of silicone such as extreme temperature resistance, chemical stability and compression set which together provides excellent sealing properties.
To find out more about our silicone products for the LED Lighting Sector, plus any other silicone products, get in touch with the Silicone Rubber Experts