Water vapor permeability of polymeric packaging materials for novel glass‐free photovoltaic applications

Markus Babin*, Gabriele C. Eder, Yuliya Voronko, Gernot Oreski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

Moisture ingress in photovoltaic (PV) modules is a critical factor for performance degradation, therefore, a low water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) is highly desirable for polymers used to embed the solar cells, including backsheets, frontsheets, and encapsulants. With the advent of glass‐free modules for integration in building envelopes and vehicles, there is growing interest in polymer composite structures with embedded glass fibers to enhance rigidity. Furthermore, due to environmental concerns, there is increased interest in fluorine‐free polymers for PV applications. In this work, 21 samples with different base polymers, coatings, and/or surface treatments are investigated and their WVTRs are measured. The results show no good alternatives to existing fluoride‐based polymers/coatings for reducing WVTRs of backsheets and frontsheets among the investigated samples. In addition, glass fibers embedded within polymers to provide increased stability to backsheets or in composites for lightweight PV are shown to significantly increase WVTRs, especially, when fibers are not properly embedded, providing additional diffusion pathways for moisture ingress.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere55733
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Number of pages9
ISSN0021-8995
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

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