Effects of UV Aging on the Cracking of Titanium Oxide Layer on Poly(ethylene terephthalate) Substrate: Preprint

Chao Zhang, Robert Tirawat, Ross Larsen, Fangliang Chen, Matthew Gray

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

1 Scopus Citations


Thin oxide and metal films deposited on polymer substrates is an emerging technology for advanced reflectors for concentrated solar power applications, due to their unique combination of light weight, flexibility and inexpensive manufacture. Thus far, there is little knowledge on the mechanical integrity or structural persistence of such multi-layer thin film systems under long-term environmental aging. In this paper, the cracking of a brittle titanium dioxide layer deposited onto elasto-plastic poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) substrate is studied through a combination of experiment and modeling. In-situ fragmentation tests have been conducted to monitor the onset and evolution of cracks both on pristine and on samples aged with ultraviolet (UV) light. An analytical model is presented to simulate the cracking behavior and to predict the effects of UV aging. Based on preliminary experimental observation, the effect of aging is divided into three aspects and analyzed independently: mechanical property degradation of the polymer substrate; degradation of the interlayer between substrate and oxide coating; and internal stress-induced cracks on the oxide coating.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2016
EventASCE Earth and Space Conference 2016 - Orlando, Florida
Duration: 11 Apr 201615 Apr 2016


ConferenceASCE Earth and Space Conference 2016
CityOrlando, Florida

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-2C00-65867


  • advanced reflectors
  • metal films
  • polymer substrates
  • thin oxide films


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