Graphite Foam Material Used in Cooling LEDs Licensed to LED North America

Thermal graphite foam from ORNL licensed by LED North America

LEDs Magazine, February 28, 2010

LED North America hopes to solve the heat problem that plaques LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) with a new graphite foam material. Developed by the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the foam has a crystal structure that offers high thermal conductivity and light weight. LED North America has signed an exclusive licensing agreement to use the foam.

High temperatures can both shorten the life and impact the brightness of LEDs and virtually all luminaires require some type of heat-sink or other thermal management technology to mitigate the problem. Presumably the foam will offer far more flexibility than copper or aluminum heat sinks along with lighter weight. Moreover the thermal design can remain passive as opposed to schemes that use fans or other devices to move air.

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