Strength of Silicon Wafers: Fracture Mechanics Approach

Przemyslaw Rupnowski, Bhushan Sopori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus Citations


This paper describes a model to predict mechanical strength distribution of silicon wafers. A generalized expression, based on a multimodal Weibull distribution, is proposed to describe the strength of a brittle material with surface, edge, and bulk flaws. The specific case of a cast, unpolished photovoltaic (PV) wafer is further analyzed. Assuming that surface microcracks constitute the dominant mechanism of wafer breakage, this model predicts the strength distribution of PV silicon that matches well the experimental results available in the literature.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Fracture
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-520-42906


  • Fracture
  • Silicon
  • Solar cells
  • Surface damage
  • Wafers


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