An Investigation of the Changes in Poly(Methyl Methacrylate) Specimens After Exposure to Ultra-Violet Light, Heat, and Humidity

David C. Miller, Joseph D. Carloni, David K. Johnson, Joel W. Pankow, Erica L. Gjersing, Bobby To, Corinne E. Packard, Cheryl E. Kennedy, Sarah R. Kurtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus Citations

Abstract

The degradation of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) exposed to ultra-violet (UV) light, heat, and humidity is examined using a variety of materials characterization techniques. Using contemporary material formulations, some of which are specifically marketed to the PV industry, techniques were identified that can readily discern material changes in PMMA degraded by artificial weathering. Separate PMMA formulations were categorized as “hazy” or “yellow”, based on their visual appearance after 18 cumulative months of indoor aging in an environmental chamber equipped with a xenon-arc lamp. The characteristics examined included: optical transmittance (and the corresponding yellowness index); surface roughness (examined via atomic force and scanning electron microscopy); surface chemistry (via X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy); elastic modulus and mechanical hardness (via nanoindentation); thermal decomposition (via thermogravimetric analysis); bulk chemistry (via nuclear magnetic resonance); molecular weight (via gel permeation chromatography); and optical fluorescence. The comparison between the most affected “hazy” and “yellow” specimens illustrates some of the ways these measurement techniques can be used to explore changes in application-critical characteristics and mechanisms involved in material degradation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
Volume111
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5200-55648

Keywords

  • Accelerated stress testing
  • Instrumented indentation
  • Reliability

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