The material selection platform
Plastics & Elastomers
The material selection platform
Plastics & Elastomers

High Performance Polycarbonates for LED Applications

SpecialChem – May 31, 2017

Polycarbonate for LED ApplicationsIn the recent past, LED market has shown impetus growth in global lighting market with major applications ranging from automotive lighting to interior/ exterior illumination, signs & billboards, TVs, computers, mobiles and many more.

There are several factors which have further helped manufactures to develop LEDs for general lighting applications, like:

  • Rising government regulations
  • Consumers’ eco-friendly mindset
  • Energy efficiency
  • Long life span
  • Durability etc.

This growth is also backed by the falling prices of the technology.

LED Market and Plastics Innovations

The ever-growing LED market offers new opportunities and options for processors in plastics industry to develop new grades with high transparency, heat stability, ignition resistance to meet UL requirements etc. In plastics industry, Polycarbonate has already evolved as the material choice for LED applications. Polycarbonate and Polycarbonate blends are known to be used in several components & modules of LEDs like heat sinks, housings & closures, reflectors, lenses/ optics etc.

They offer several benefits like:

  1. High impact resistance and less prone to breakage
  2. Optical benefits for maximum light transmission
  3. UV stability against light (from LED source as well as natural light)
  4. Superior thermal stability
  5. Ignition resistance, or flame retardancy
  6. Freedom of design

Polycarbonate or PC Blends for LEDs

There are various polycarbonate-based innovations available in market today offering several benefits over metal and glass in LED lamps and luminaires. Some examples include:

Grade Supplier FR Rating Features Application
Makrolon® TC8030 Covestro UL 94 V-0 at 2.0mm
  • Thermally conductive
  • Low density
  • Corrosion & heat resistant
LED Heat Sinks
LUVOCOM® 50-8779 Lehmann & Voss Compliant with UL94 V-0 flammability standards
  • Thermally conductive
  • High dimensional stability
  • Good mechanical strength and isotropic shrinkage
  • Optional flame retardation
  • Electrical insulation
LED heat sinks and enclosures
Makrolon® RW2405, RW2407, RW6265X, RW6267X or Apec® RW1697 Covestro UL 94 V-0 at 1.5mm
  • Up to 96 percent reflectance
  • High diffusive reflectivity
  • Excellent surface quality
  • High brightness white grades
LED lamp reflectors

EMERGE™ PC and CELEX™ Grades

» EMERGE™ PC 4350-7
» EMERGE™ PC 8130-10
» EMERGE™ PC 4350-15
» CELEX™ 3600-10

Trinseo UL 94 V-0 at 0.85-1.5mm and V-2 at 0.5-3 mm
  • Heat resistance (continuous use temperature > 100°C
  • Good UV resistance
  • Flame retardancy
LED Lighting Reflectors
Makrolon® LED2245 or Makrolon® LED2643 Covestro -
  • Reduced yellowing index and haze
  • High impact strength
  • Low melt viscosity
  • Enables miniature parts with greater precision
  • Excellent print quality
  • Break-resistance
  • High dimensional stability over a broad temperature range
Lenses and secondary optics


» CALIBRE™ 301-58 LT
» EMERGE™ PC 8430-7 LT
» EMERGE™ PC 8430-10

Trinseo -
  • High light transmission (CALIBRE™ 301-58 LT has values close to PMMA)
  • Long-lasting UV resistance
LED Lenses
Lexan™ LUX PC SABIC UL 94 V0 down to 1mm transparent/diffuse
  • Excellent optics
  • High impact
  • Good heat mechanism
  • Halogen-free flame retardancy
LED Lenses
Bayblend® FR3010 IF PC/ ABS Blend Covestro UL recognition 94 V-0 at 1.5 mm
  • Improved chemical resistance and stress cracking behavior
  • Flame retardant
  • Increased heat resistance
LED Enclosure

Earlier this year, Trinseo highlighted its portfolio of EMERGE™ Advanced Resins for lighting systems at Strategies in Light 2017. Trinseo has been developing custom polycarbonate-based solutions for the LED Lighting industry to meet the challenges faced by lighting industry like the need to balance light diffusion and transmission, light weight, and design aesthetically pleasing, cost effective housings.

EMERGE™ PC 8030 Advanced Resins for Housings

  • UL 94 certified 5VA @ 2.5 mm and UL V-0 @ 0.8 mm 
  • Offers the opportunity to further control cost by using less material and producing lighter weight parts
  • Suitable for outdoor applications, UL 746C f1 certified

EMERGE™ PC 8160 Advanced Resin for Light Diffusion

  • A super-high-diffusion grade with an excellent LED hiding capability
  • It has glare reduction technology, and high flux efficiency 
  • It is UL 94 certified V-0 @ 1.0 mm

Use of Polycarbonates by LED Manufactures – Latest Examples

Recently, several LED manufactures have turned to polycarbonate manufacturers in search of durable materials that offer optimal performance. Some examples include:

PowerSecure Lighting’s Solais® LED Luminaires

PowerSecure Lighting’s Solais® LED Luminaires
PowerSecure Lighting has used Bayblend® FR3010 polycarbonate/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (PC+ABS) blend in its Solais® products. Two components are molded from lightweight blend to keep LED luminaires safe and long-lasting.

  1. One holds the lamp fan to allow for cooling of the module and power supply
  2. The other forms the electrical enclosure around the power supply

The flame retardant properties of Bayblend® FR3010 PC+ABS blend were beneficial to the overall design and functionality of the products, keeping them safe and long-lasting.

Incoplas™ LED Hybrid Luminaire Housing

Shat-R-Shield, Inc. selected thermally conductive Makrolon® polycarbonate from Covestro for use in the main luminaire housing of the Incoplas™ LED Hybrid. Thermally conductive Makrolon® polycarbonate was selected for use in the main luminaire housing, acting as a heat sink to support thermal management requirements.

Furthermore, Makrolon® polycarbonate enabled the dust tight, watertight luminaire to meet a target lumen output of 10,000 lumens and achieve IP69K, IP66, NEMA 4x and NEMA 5 ratings. Benefits of this flame-retardant material include superior impact strength, dimensional stability and chemical resistance.

Incoplas™ LED Hybrid Luminaires

Covestro offers a range of polycarbonate grades to meet specific requirements per application. Covestro’s Makrolon® and Bayblend® polycarbonate/ polycarbonate blends offer:

  • High light transmission over a broad range of wavelengths 
  • Excellent long-term heat and high flux stability 
  • Much longer product life than other polymers for designs with high heat requirements 
  • High mechanical stability 
  • Inherently good flame resistance 
  • Higher flame retardance of specific grades (UL94 V-0 and/or 5VA)

More LED Light Launches Featuring Polycarbonate

  • Coxreels introduced an industrial duty LED light now available on the PC13 (Power Cord) cord reels. The new LED light features a variety of industrial-grade features, including: shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses, an LED end-light feature, internal light diffuser, and adjustable steel hooks for hands-free placement. This new LED light by Coxreels is UL Listed with a 50,000 hour rating.
  • Larson Electronics - New Explosion Proof High Bay Food Safe LED Light Fixture
  • Larson Electronics launched a new explosion proof high bay food safe LED light fixture (EPL-HB-150LED-RT-NSF). The food safe rating is achieved via a gasketed polycarbonate lens that covers the faceplate of the fixture and prevents any glass from being exposed. The polycarbonate lens on these explosion proof high bay LED fixtures eliminates that liability by catching and trapping any glass fragments in the event that the light within the lens is broken.

  • Optronics launched high-output LED Light Bars featuring tough polycarbonate lenses that resist dust adhesion. These lamps stand up to challenging conditions and cleaning methods because all carry an IP65 rating for dust and water resistance, meaning increased reliability and service life.

  • Orgatech’s new Architura RGB and RGBW color changing LED light fixtures deliver even, diffused light without LED images for exterior or interior commercial, industrial, and municipal spaces. These LED light fixtures feature slide-in clear polycarbonate lensing. Light is focused forward and upward, to indirectly illuminate ceilings, exterior walls, facades or support columns.


Be the first to comment on "High Performance Polycarbonates for LED Applications"

Leave a comment

Your email address and name will not be published submitting a comment or rating implies your acceptance to SpecialChem Terms & Conditions
Channel Alerts

Receive weekly digests on hot topics

Back to Top