New Liquid Silicone Cooling allows LED Lamp to Look as Good as an Edison Incandescent Lamp

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 25th, 2012

Week in Review

Stand aside compact fluorescent lamp.  There’s a new lamp in town.  And this one is really high tech (see SWITCH60 Review: The First Liquid-Cooled LED Bulb Will Light Up Your House Like Edison by Rebecca Boyle posted 8/20/2012 on Popular Science).

The ice cream cone-shaped fluorescent light bulb was supposed to be the lamp of the future, producing just as much light as the century-old Edison incandescent at a fraction of the energy. But CFLs look terrible, enveloping rooms in an unfriendly bluish hue. LED lamps are the next future of lighting, but they have their own obstacles to overcome, including sensitive electronics that can burn out when they get warm. SWITCH, the first liquid-cooled light bulb, aims to solve that issue and light up your house with the comfortable yellow glow of the incandescent.

But we already have a lamp that can give us the “comfortable yellow glow” of the Edison incandescent lamp.  The Edison incandescent lamp.  And they’re inexpensive.  You can get a pack of three for a couple of bucks.  And they last longer than some of the compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) I’ve used.  Yes, those same CFLs rated for a bajillion hours.  Must be metric hours because they just don’t last in my household.

The weight is behind this bulb’s secret — it’s full of liquid silicone, which dissipates heat from the 10 LEDs (12 LEDs for the 100-watt version). Warmer silicone moves toward the glass exterior, where heat dissipates into the air; as it cools, the silicone drops back toward the bulb’s heart. Think of a lava lamp; this works basically the same way, said Dave Horn, chief technology officer at SWITCH. You just can’t see the gloopy circulation.

The bulb also contains a volume-compensation device that works somewhat like a piston to keep the bulb at atmospheric pressure. If the bulb breaks, it won’t explode. Plus, liquid silicone is food-safe and clear, so if you drop one and it breaks, your carpet won’t stain and your dog won’t get sick. This is a benefit over the mercury vapor-filled CFL, which can emit harmful mercury if it shatters.

You know what kind of lamp you can throw away as easily as the Edison incandescent lamp?  The Edison incandescent lamp.  If you broke one you didn’t worry about putting on your hazardous-material suit to dispose of it.  Or going to the bank to withdraw some money to buy another lamp to replace it.

Are we making lamps just a little too high tech?  Circulating liquid silicone?  These are some high-tech lamps that probably require some intensive manufacturing skills.  Are they going to make these in U.S. manufacturing plants?  Or because of their incredible cost will they have the Chinese make these, too?  Like solar panels?

Food-safe liquid silicone?  Isn’t this what was bursting inside all those women with breast implants?  According to all those lawsuits silicone wasn’t food-safe.  Or perhaps those were frivolous lawsuits like the manufacturers said they were.  Who knows?  Some say a leaking breast implant will make you sick.  While others say you can lunch on liquid silicone.  That’s the problem with science in America.  Lawyers can politicize it.

The 60-watt version will set you back $40, and the brighter ones go for $60… The bulbs aren’t on sale yet, but they were shipped earlier this month to hotels and other hospitality establishments, so you may start seeing them soon.

Wow.  That’s as high as one dollar a watt.  A pack of three can cost as much as $180.  You know what that means?  That’s right.  These lamps are going to grow legs and walk out of those hotel rooms.

Yes, price should come down over time.  Just like it was supposed to do with the CFLs.  But before the CFL got to be everything they said it would be it’s already yesterday’s technology.  So what will be the new lamp technology in the years to come while the LED lamps become more wallet-friendly and people-pleasing?  Perhaps the Edison incandescent lamp.

We have so much coal and natural gas in this country that we can keep electricity rates low long into the future.  If we give up this nonsense of windmills and solar panels.  And global warming?  Perhaps if we pump up some more carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide from our coal-fired power plants into the atmosphere we can bring down global temperatures.  Just like the volcanoes do when they spew carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, cooling the planet in the process.  Perhaps if we stop trying to save the planet the planet may have a chance to survive.

If people want the Edison incandescent lamp we should let them have it.  It’s a good lamp.  No one is denying it.  Even the people trying to replace it.  Because the bar to measure every new lamp technology is the one lamp we all know and love.  The Edison incandescent lamp.


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