Conductive vs. Radiant Heat Dissipation
Heat generated by an LED is quite different from the heat generated by an incandescent bulb. Because the LED heat is trapped in the chip, heat must be conducted out via a path of low heat resistance. This keeps the LED at a temperature where it will function efficiently and have a lifetime that maps to the life of the application.
The incandescent radiates most of its heat into the surrounding air, which somewhat cools the bulb. The incandescent bulb does not conduct substantial heat into the socket, which stays relatively cool.
- Incandescent bulbs get very hot and can’t be touched without burning a finger. A bulb too close to a lampshade can start a fire or burn a dark spot on the shade.
- The actual temperature of the LED can be cool or hot depending on the specific thermal management system designed into the light. It will always be cooler to the touch than a bulb.
Existing light fixtures are not designed to manage the LED’s conductive heat dissipation. For example, there’s no easy way to get the heat out of a retrofitted LED light in a recessed ceiling fixture.
OptoElectronix engineering has ongoing developments to tackle heat dissipation in all of our products and we have developed heat-sinking technologies that will allow our fixtures and lighting to be used in a variety of traditional lighting platforms.