Can a flame barrier material help improve the efficiency and cost of an LED lighting design?

LED luminaires (light fixtures with an integrated source) depend on high-performance LEDs, good thermal management, and low optical loss. Designing them presents engineers with a new set of challenges. How can flame-resistant materials enable LED lighting designs with greater efficiency and lower cost?

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  • Bob Wandmacher

    Bob Wandmacher

    OEM Marketing Manager 3M Electrical Markets Division To read Bob's opening, click here
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    1. Advances in electrical flame barrier materials offer design engineers new solutions for LEDs. Some of these materials have a UL94 flammability resistance rating of 5VA (ignition source is five times more severe than that used for V-0 test). Utilizing a barrier material, such as 3M™ Flame Barrier FRB series, between circuit board traces and an optical lens plate provides a 5VA barrier enclosure to comply with UL 8750 safety standard requirements for non-class 2 LED light sources (>60V). By using this approach, LED luminaire efficiency can be significantly increased by eliminating both a separate glass plate and flame retardant fillers in a plastic optical lens plate. Also, designs without a separate glass plate may reduce both cost and weight.

  • Craig McClenachan

    Craig McClenachan

    Vice President Fabrication and Assembly Business Unit FABRICO To read Craig's opening, click here
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    1. Polymeric enclosures with flame barrier materials are being used more often in LED lighting designs. There are a variety of dielectric flame barrier materials available. These materials vary in dielectric strength, flammability rating, arc and track resistance, thermal rating, dimensional stability, and convertibility. Some newer flame barrier materials have been developed specifically for LED lighting. An experienced flexible materials converter can help design engineers to select the right material for the application, and die-cut the part to the exact specifications required with extremely tight tolerances.

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6 Responses Below

  1. How thick does the flame barrier material need to be?

    by John on August 9, 2012 at: 11:23 am
  2. Do I need to use thermal management material and a flame barrier if I’m working on a lighting application with direct connected LEDs?

    by Bill D on August 9, 2012 at: 11:20 am
  3. Don’t flame barriers interfere with heat transfer, a critical issue for LEDs?

    Carl Zweben PhD – Composites and Thermal Materials
    Life Fellow, ASME; Fellow, SAMPE & ASM
    Associate Fellow, AIAA
    62 Arlington Road
    Devon, PA 19333-1538
    USA
    Phone:610-688-1772
    Email: c.h.zweben@usa.net
    Website: http://sites.google.com/site/zwebenconsulting

    by Carl Zweben on June 30, 2012 at: 1:12 pm
    • Thermal management is very important for LEDs. Greater efficiencies are being achieved by incorporating thermal management in LED luminaires (light integrated into the light fixture). LED luminaire heat transfer is mainly done through the backside of housing via metal heat sink fins. The front side has secondary optics for directing the light. The use of flame barriers between the PCB and secondary optical plate can actually improve the heat transfer by eliminating a glass plate in the luminaire design. Also, eliminating the glass plate reduces the optical transmission loss to improve light efficacy.

      by Bob Wandmacher on July 3, 2012 at: 10:54 am
  4. What are non-class 2 LED light sources?

    by Jesse on June 28, 2012 at: 2:29 pm
    • UL 8750 standard for LED luminaires has 3 different classes (class 2, class 1 and direct connected) for describing the power source for the LED array module. The class 2 (low voltage limited energy – LVLE) is least hazardous with an isolated power supply (LED driver) that has less than 30 Vrms or 60 Vdc with limited current. Class 1 has power supply with higher voltage or current output. The direct connected is connected directly to AC power line without any power supply conversion. The latter two classes for circuits are recognized to have risk of fire per UL 8750 that require more demanding enclosure requirements (5VA).

      by Bob Wandmacher on July 6, 2012 at: 4:08 pm