Dow Corning has introduced EI-1184 Clear Encapsulant for demanding outdoor LED lighting applications. Featuring high transparency and weatherability, the two-part silicone encapsulant delivers reliable, long-lasting protection of sensitive LED electronics in environments containing moisture, ultraviolet (UV) light, thermal cycling and extreme temperatures for both indoor and outdoor lamp and luminaire applications.
“EI-1184 Encapsulant is the latest addition to our broad and growing portfolio of advanced silicone solutions for the secondary optics market, delivering on our commitment to provide reliable protection and enhanced overall optical performance for LED lighting customers worldwide,” said Rick Ho, North American marketing manager, Dow Corning. “Clear enough for use in the light path, our new encapsulant won’t crack or yellow over the expected lifetime of the device and is suitable for applications that require strong protection from harsh environmental conditions, such as architectural and landscape lighting, light bars and strips.”
The global LED market is rapidly expanding, driven by government initiatives to phase out conventional incandescent lighting to lower energy consumption and minimize environmental impact. Outdoor lighting is the fastest-growing segment within the overall LED market, with an estimated 25 percent compound annual growth rate through 2018, according to market research firm Strategies Unlimited. This growth is spurring demand for innovative materials that deliver robust protection against harsh environmental conditions, while adhering to industry standards and lowering manufacturing costs.
As a class of materials, Dow Corning silicones deliver greater flexibility compared to other encapsulant chemistries to counter mechanical strains of thermal cycling. They also deliver higher photothermal stability vs. epoxies and other organic solutions, which supports the industry trend toward brighter, hotter LED lighting designs. EI-1184 Encapsulant further conforms to UL F1, the standard specified by Underwriters Laboratories ensuring that a material meets specific parameters for resistance to UV and moisture exposure typically seen in outdoor applications.
Dow Corning’s new silicone encapsulant comes as a simple, two-part liquid component kit that requires a comparatively simple 1:1 mix ratio unlike conventional grades that mix 10:1. This not only reduces the potential for error during preparation, it makes it easier for manufacturers to control quality, simplify processing and reduce costs for high volume production. Once mixed, the formulation cures to a flexible elastomer, which is well suited for the protection of electrical/electronic applications.