GE taps jet engine cooling technology in LED bulbs

GE scientists and researchers at the University of Maryland have designed a prototype 1,500-lumen LED bulb that taps jet engine cooling technology to prevent overheating.

“Just one floor down in the same research building, I have colleagues using our dual cool jets technology to improve both the power and efficiency of GE’s jet engines and power generation turbines,” explained GE mechanical engineer Mehmet Arik.

“With wind turbines, for example, we’re manipulating airflow to increase wind energy production. With LEDs, we’re using dual cool jets to improve the heat transfer rate and reduce the number of chips in the lamp.”

According to Arik, GE dual cool jets are very small micro-fluidic bellows type devices that provide high-velocity jets of air, which impinge on the LED heat sink. 

These jets of air increase the heat transfer rate to more than ten times that of natural convection.

The improved cooling enables LED operation at high drive currents without losses in efficiency or lifetime. 

For a given lumen output, the dual cool jets’ improved thermal management reduces the necessary LED chip count. This, in turn, can dramatically lower the cost of the lamp. 

“The scientists and technology leaders involved in this collaboration are dissolving some major barriers to the commercialization of general lighting LED bulbs,” said John Strainic, global product general manager for GE Lighting.

“We’re taking swings at issues such as higher light output options, thermal management, and bulb size and weight. This kicks open the door to the solid-state age that is upon us.”