Determining the Crosslinking and Degradation Reaction Kinetics in Photovoltaic Encapsulants Using Accelerated Aging: Preprint

Kuan Liu, David Miller, Nick Bosco, Reinhold Dauskardt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Degradation of photovoltaic (PV) module encapsulant mechanical characteristics that lead to embrittlement and delamination remains a cause of failure in solar installations. A multiscale reliability model based on detailed molecular degradation reaction kinetics was previously published, connecting the encapsulant mechanical properties (elastic modulus, yield strength, and adhesion energy) to the degraded molecular structure and interfacial bond density to adjacent solar cell and glass substrates. The model, developed primarily for poly(ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (EVA) encapsulants, remains to be experimentally validated. Determining the degradation and crosslinking kinetics of alternative encapsulants, such as polyolefin elastomer (POE) and EVA/POE/EVA composites (EPE), can further generalize the model. Importantly, the activation energy for crosslinking of fully cured PV encapsulant products from temperature or UV is presently unknown or unavailable. In this work, we subject EVA, POE, and EPE encapsulants to a set of accelerated aging conditions, varying the temperature, UV intensity, and relative humidity. We use DSC, FTIR, and Soxhlet extraction (gel content) to characterize the encapsulants' changing molecular structure. This allows for determination of the photochemical degradation and crosslinking kinetics of the encapsulants. Preliminary results show an increase in gel content (crosslinking) and a decrease in crystallinity of EVA, POE, and EPE encapsulants under hot-aerobic (90 deg C, 22% RH) and hot-anaerobic (90oC, sealed in N2 air) accelerated aging, even in the absence of UV and crosslinking initiating agents. For a least squares regression with an assumed first-order crosslinking kinetics, the crosslinking rate parameters were computed for the three encapsulants under hot-aerobic and hot-anaerobic aging conditions. FTIR analysis showed insignificant encapsulant degradation for hot-aerobic and hot-anaerobic aging, demonstrating the critical role of UV and moisture in accelerating degradation. Aging conditions with UV exposure and elevated humidity are presently in progress.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2024
EventIEEE PVSC 2024 - Seattle WA
Duration: 9 Jun 202414 Jun 2024


ConferenceIEEE PVSC 2024
CitySeattle WA

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5K00-90303


  • adhesion
  • durability
  • DuraMAT
  • encapsulant
  • reliability


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