How many rocket scientists does it take to make a light bulb? A whole team of them when you’re talking about the next big lighting breakthrough.
GE Global Research, working with the Department of Energy and the University of Maryland, has just unveiled a prototype LED bulb that shines as bright as a 100-watt halogen bulb using just a third of the energy. That’s a gigantic leap in the lighting world.
To put it in perspective, in April GE unveiled an LED bulb that will last for 17 years and replace a 40-watt incandescent bulb. In lighting speak, it generates 450 lumens, a vast increase over the 350 lumens that existing LED bulbs produce. Fast-forward to the new rocket science bulb, which generates a whopping 1,500 lumens.
Unlike incandescent lights, which heat a filament and are relatively inefficient because they give off so much heat, light emitting diodes create light when electricity makes electrons move from one energy state to another. And unlike lamps that can shatter, LED’s have no filament to break and are highly resistant to shock and vibration.
While everyone agrees that LEDs are super energy efficient and long-lasting, the criticism is that they’re too expensive and often aren’t bright enough. That’s where the new jet engine tech comes in.
Basically, the bulb is engineered with two small bellows-type devices that generate high-speed jets of air. They draw in air and then force it out at a much faster speed via the same opening, essentially expanding and contracting to force the air flow. It stems from design principles used in GE’s jet engines to control how air flows over surfaces, as drag can cause the system to be inefficient. And, it’s the same principles used to increase pressure and reduce drag in GE’s wind and gas turbines.
With LEDs, the team had to focus on making them tiny — and minimizing noise. By successfully dissipating heat, the lamp themselves can also be smaller, which further drives down the cost.
Fittingly, the research team made the announcement on the same day GE Founder Thomas Edison demonstrated the first commercially practical incandescent bulb in 1879.
|Hot tech, cool bulb: The new LED technology breakthrough was announced today during a future of lighting symposium that GE hosted at its Global Research headquarters in Niskayuna, NY. Mehmet Arik, a mechanical engineer at GE Global Research and principal investigator on the LED project, is pictured above.|
Learn more in these GE Reports stories:
* “The Bulb Edison Invented is Going Away”
* “Tacoma Art Museum sees Renoir in a new (GE) light”
* “GE unveils a bulb that lasts 17 years”
* “Bendable OLEDs and next-gen LEDs grab the spotlight”
* “Our (lighting) heroes have always been Cowboys!”
* “From geothermal power to LEDs: Two ‘firsts’”
* “Starbucks gets a ‘green’ light; Pop. Sci. picks a winner”
* “GE’s OLED research: I saw the light — and it bends!”
* “Introducing the zero energy home”