Cracking and delamination behaviors of photovoltaic backsheet after accelerated laboratory weathering
Chiao-Chi Lin, Yadong Lyu, Donald L. Hunston, Jae Hyun Kim, Kai-Tak Wan, Deborah S. Jacobs, Xiaohong Gu
The channel crack and delamination phenomena that occurred during tensile tests were utilized to study surface cracking and delamination properties of a multilayered backsheet. A model sample of commercial PPE (polyethylene terephthalate (PET)/PET/ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)) backsheet was studied. Fragmentation testing was performed after accelerated aging with and without ultraviolet (UV) irradiation in two relative humidity (RH) levels (5 % RH and 60 % RH) at elevated temperature (85 °C) conditions for 11 days and 22 days. Results suggest that the embrittled surface layer resulting from the UV photo-degradation is responsible for surface cracking when the strain applied on the sample is far below the yielding strain (2.2 %) of the PPE sample. There was no surface cracking observed on the un-aged sample and samples aged without UV irradiation. According to the fragmentation testing results, the calculated fracture toughness (KIC) values of the embrittled surface layer are as low as 0.027 MPa·m1/2 to 0.104 MPa·m1/2, depending on the humidity levels and aging times. Surface analysis using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared and atomic force microscopy shows the degradation mechanism of the embrittled surface layer is a combination of the photo-degradation within a certain degradation depth and the moisture erosion effect depending on the moisture levels. Specifically, UV irradiation provides a chemical degradation effect while moisture plays a synergistic effect on surface erosion, which influences surface roughness after aging. Finally, there was no delamination observed during tensile testing in this study, suggesting the surface cracking problem is more significant than the delamination for the PPE backsheet material and conditions tested here.