New lighting and LEDs require a foundation based on effective thermal design.
Mentor Graphics simulation technologies make it easier and more efficient to try various cooling techniques and designs in order to find a competitive price vs. performance ratio. While Mentor Graphics thermal and radiometric characterization solutions enable engineers to get even closer to the limits of modern thermal management technologies by calculating the properties of the LED and their behavior at different temperatures and currents. Combining both characterization with simulation, engineers can cut costs, create better designs and get products to market faster.
“FloEFD from Mentor helps us to understand and optimize headlamps. Even very complex geometries and test conditions can be investigated with a minimum of effort. New features such as Monte-Carlo radiation and the LED module are especially helpful in speeding the development of very complex products.”
Peter Jauernig, Automotive Lighting
Thermal characterization is the proven method to base design and purchasing decisions and finding assembly errors. Understanding the structure of the LED and comparing various LED samples from different vendors helps to identify the best possible choice of LEDs. It can also help manufacturers identify line errors and test new designs under development while luminaire designers can make decisions based on endurance tests, aging influences on performance as well as checking luminaire assembly quality.
Thermal Model Creation
Thermal models are used in thermal simulation tools in order to represent real-life conditions more accurately. Based on either a simple model or a detailed model, thermal characterization can be used for more accurate simulation results including parameters of the detailed heat flow path. Further insight can be obtained by calibrating the materials and layer thicknesses with the measurements of the real LED.
In LED lighting applications the heat flow path is crucial for good thermal performance of the luminaire. Therefore the PCB plays an important role and there are various PCB types that can be applied to improve thermal management. For example. a large amount of metal in or on the PCB is the key for effective heat spread. image: LUMI-monster.jpg
In most cases the heatsink is the next layer in the heat flow path after the PCB. In some cases there are ways of printing the traces directly onto the heatsink and with that avoiding the additional layer of the PCB in the heat flow path. No matter which technology is considered during the design evaluation, thermal simulation as well as thermal characterization can help to reduce the design costs by reducing prototypes and design re-spins.
When characterizing LEDs thermally the optical power is a necessary element to consider when determining the real thermal resistance. In order to do so, an optical characterization is executed in the same run while considering optical/radiometric parameters. This characterized LED data can serve as a detailed information source when considering aging tests to see where and how the LED degrades and it is therefore advised to conduct both characterization methods when measuring LEDs.
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