To guarantee the best performance from an LED efficient heat dissipation is essential. LED's only convert about 25% of the electricity they consume into visible light. The rest of the power is converted into heat energy which must conducted away from the LED and dissipated into the atmosphere. This unwanted heat if not managed correctly will destroy the LED resulting in greatly reduced lifespans as well as lower efficiency and reliability.
There are 2 main techniques used to remove heat away from LED's. Active and passive cooling.
Passive cooling is the most common using finned heat-sinks made from cast or extruded metal. These types do not suffer from performance degredation over time and do not make any noise.
Active cooling types are less common. They include fan and liquid cooling and are capable of dissipating larger amounts of heat, however they generally produce noise, are more expensive and suffer from performance degradation over time.
An optimal thermal management system is an primary requirement in LED solid-state lighting (SSL) lamps and luminaires in order to deliver long lifespans and consistent color and lumen outputs. Realizing such an optimal design starts in the engineering lab with accurate models and design simulations, includes correct selection of thermal products such as heat-sinks, and continues through to a robust manufacturing plan.