Why Polycarbonate Resins Have Become the Preferred Choice in LED-Light Design

    July 14, 2015

Some people worry that the world has become “too PC.” But that’s a good thing in the LED industry, where PC stands for polycarbonate resins. PCs are a type of thermoplastic component used in the manufacturing of certain plastics. They have gradually become the preferred choice for LED lenses, covers, tubes, pipes, diffusers and reflectors. In fact, well over 50 percent of the retrofitted LED lamps replacing incandescent bulbs are made with PC materials

led light

Why PC Is Taking Over
So why are PC materials outpacing traditional polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and glass solutions? In the residential LED lighting market, PCs provide improved durability and impact resistance, and also outperform PMMA in flame retardancy and thermal resistance

Another issue with residential lighting is the softness of the light source. People are so accustomed to illumination from incandescent bulbs that they prefer an LED source which replicates the warm glow of these products without the harsh glare. With PC, it’s easier for manufacturers to find the right balance between light diffusion and transmission without the need for secondary lenses or components. LEDs with PMMAs can get there as well, but not without adding weight, complexity and cost to luminaire design. 

Resources for Those Working With PCs
Plastics are among the best candidates for adhesive bonding and sealing, especially to dissimilar materials like aluminum or painted/coated surfaces. In general, joining with adhesives will provide the strongest, lightest and most durable bond for plastic components. To help with this, we created a Design Guide for Bonding Plastics to assure the success of your application. The guide includes important product information on more than 250 different plastics as well as adhesive usage guidelines for joint design, surface preparation, processing guidelines, and more.

You can find the section specific to PCs on page 40.

Have questions about bonding with plastics that aren’t in this guide? Comment below, call 1-800-LOCTITE (562-8483), or reach out to your Henkel representative.

About the Author, Matt Donelan

Matt Donelan is a Market Development Director for Henkel North America based in Rocky Hill, Conn. His responsibilities cover the Electrical and Optical segments including Lighting, Wire Harnesses, and Electric Motors. Matt has over 20 years of experience at Henkel in both marketing and product management positions. He also has design, test, and manufacturing engineering experience in the aerospace, optical, medical and electronics industries. Matt holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Connecticut and an MBA from the University of Hartford.

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2 responses to “Why Polycarbonate Resins Have Become the Preferred Choice in LED-Light Design”

  1. Rick Cooper says:

    Hello Mr. Donelan,

    Are polycarbonate lamps shatter-resistant? The company I work for, AIB International, consults to the food manufacturing and food warehouse industry. Our requirements are that any lamps located above exposed food be shatter -resistant or have a plastic tube around the bulb to capture glass that might be broken if the bulb is hit or breaks. Do the polycarbonate lamps you discuss here meet that requirement.

    Thank you!

    Rick Cooper
    AIB International

    • Sara Lopes says:

      Hello Rick, thank you for reaching out! To answer your question: Yes, the polycarbonate lens itself is very shatter resistant. One of the lens purposes id to isolate and protect the light source itself, an LED Lamp or bulb.

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