Framework for Predicting the Photodegradation of Adhesion of Silicone Encapsulants

Can Cai, David C. Miller, Ian A. Tappan, Reinhold H. Dauskardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus Citations


We developed a framework to predict and model the photodegradation of adhesion and cohesion of a silicone encapsulant for concentrator photovoltaic applications. Silicone encapsulant specimens were artificially weathered under narrow band UV filters to determine the effects of individual wavelengths within the UV spectrum on the photodegradation of the cohesion of encapsulant material and its adhesion with adjacent interfaces. The threshold wavelength, signifying the upper bound of the damaging action spectrum for the silicone, was identified from the results. In addition, specimens were artificially weathered with different relative humidities to understand the effects of moisture on the rate of photodegradation. The adhesion energy was measured using a fracture mechanics approach. The complementary delaminated surfaces were characterized to determine the failure pathway and chemistry changes resulting from photodegradation. A previously developed model was modified to account for the effects of damaging wavelengths in the terrestrial solar spectrum and reciprocity law failure due to varying UV intensity during weathering. With these modifications, the model showed good agreement with the behavior of the silicone encapsulant exposed in an outdoor solar concentrator simulating concentrator photovoltaics operating conditions. Similar studies can be adopted to develop models that can have high predictive accuracies based on accelerated aging studies.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)486-492
Number of pages7
JournalSolar Energy Materials and Solar Cells
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-73005


  • Accelerated aging
  • Concentrator photovoltaics
  • Encapsulant
  • Lifetime prediction
  • Photodegradation
  • Silicone


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