Adhesion and Debonding Kinetics of Photovoltaic Encapsulation in Moist Environments

David Miller, Fernando Novoa, Reinhold Dauskardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus Citations


Debonding of photovoltaic (PV) encapsulation in moist environments is frequently reported but presently not well understood or quantified. Temperature cycling, moisture, and mechanical loads often cause loss of encapsulation adhesion and interfacial debonding, initially facilitating back-reflectance and reduced electrical current, but ultimately leading to internal corrosion and loss of module functionality. To investigate the effects of temperature (T) and relative humidity (RH) on the kinetics of encapsulation debonding, we developed a mechanics-based technique to measure encapsulation debond energy and debond growth rates in a chamber of controlled environment. The debond energy decreased from 2.15 to 1.75 kJ m-2 in poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (EVA) and from 0.67 to 0.52 kJ m-2 in polyvinyl butyral when T increased from 25 to 50°C and 20 to 40°C, respectively. The debond growth rates of EVA increased up to 1000-fold with small increases of T (10°C) and RH (15%). To elucidate the mechanisms of environmental debonding, we developed a fracture-kinetics model, where the viscoelastic relaxation processes at the debonding-tip are used to predict debond growth. The model and techniques constitute the fundamental basis for developing accelerated aging tests and long-term reliability predictions for PV encapsulation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)183-194
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Photovoltaics: Research and Applications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5J00-67051


  • delamination
  • durability
  • encapsulation debonding
  • interfacial adhesion
  • moisture


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