Developing the Science Basis for Understanding Polymer Encapsulant Degradation Mechanisms: A Scale Bridging Computational Framework

DuraMAT 2.0 Project

Multi-Scale, Multi-Physics Model

Category: Predictive Simulation

Recipient Sandia National Laboratories (PI: Wilson, Mark)

Subs Stanford University - Reinhold Dauskardt,

Status Awarded

Abstract The aging performance of materials within solar photovoltaic modules is critical to delivering on the ever-expanding energy need. With the market share of encapsulant material selections heading towards increasingly cost-effective choices, novel encapsulant materials are emerging, and in most cases a molecular-level understanding of degradation processes is lacking. Many factors simultaneously contribute to degradation, however, distinguishing one specific primary driver is difficult. Therefore, a more complete understanding of the heterogeneous degradation process requires knowledge of the migration of species, concentration dependence, and their combined effects on degradation rates. In this project, we will perform experimental aging studies to identify degradation products and use these results as inputs to atomistic models to determine diffusion and reaction kinetics occurring during encapsulant degradation. The objective is to demonstrate a coupled experimental and computational approach necessary to develop a predictive, scale-bridging, diffusion-reaction model of encapsulant degradation of novel materials in the future.