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Published by Imran Ahmed Jewel

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Imran Ahmed Jewel on Jan 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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is a copolymer of ethylene and vinyl acetate, approachingelastomeric materials in softness and flexibility. It is used in the photovoltaics industry as anencapsulation material for silicon cells in the manufacture of photovoltaic modules. Ethylene vinylacetate is hard-wearing, transparent, resistant to corrosion, and flame retardant [3].The EVA resin, together with a number of ingredients, is heated and mixed thoroughly and isthen extruded through a flat die and a film is then formed.The advantages of EVA film are:
High tensile strength
Excellent transparency
Outstanding adhesion [6]
UV protection [6]
Sound barrier 
Good temperature withstanding
Water proof 
High wind resistance
Humidity durable
Long-term reliableProblems arise from the vacuum lamination process involved in sandwiching the EVA between two sheets of glass. Photovoltaic devices are typically encapsulated using EVA to providethem with mechanical support, electrical isolation, and protection against environmental exposure.For many module types, exposure to water is an important lifetime-limiting factor. During exposureto water, heat, and/or UV radiation, EVA decomposes and releases small amounts of acetic acid,which result in lowering of pH and general increase in surface corrosion rates and the colour of theEVA film turns from clear to yellow-brown [1].
Polyvinyl butyral (PVB)
is a resin usually used for applications that require strong binding,optical clarity, adhesion to many surfaces, toughness and flexibility. The major application islaminated safety glass for automobile windshields [3].PVB has gained acceptance among manufacturers of  photovoltaicthin filmsolar modules. The photovoltaic circuit is formed on a sheet of glass using thin film deposition and patterningtechniques. PVB and a second sheet of glass (called back glass) are then placed directly on thecircuit. The advantages ot PVB are:
PVB can be stored for up to 4 years until use; EVA only 6 months.
Greater resistance to impression and lack of flow at the edges – hence no contamination of the modules during lamination
Reproducible lamination thanks to the lack of crosslinking of PVB (there is no need for PVB to crosslink)
The use of other, more cost-effective lamination processes
Better long-term behaviour in terms of UV and temperature resistancePolyvinyl butyral is delicate to handle. It requires a clean room with humidity andtemperature controlled for the assembly of PVB film in between two pieces of glass. If theassembly is done under improper environmental condition, the result of the PVB laminated glass isnot satisfactory. In addition, the production line is long and occupies large space. The conventionallaminating process using a layer of PVB as the bonding resin, comprises the step of heating thelaminate inside an autoclave to a softening temperature for the PVB resin, allowing the resin toflow, thereby forming a transparent film having no significant optical defects.Page 1 of 4
Polyvinyl butyral (PVB) was first utilized for solar photovoltaic modules in the 1970s [4].Early modules incorporated PVB formulations that absorbed water at exposed edges, resulting in acloudiness characterized by a loss in visible light transmission. As a result, solar modulemanufacturers shifted for the most part from PVB to ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) for use in manysolar cell applications [5]. In 1997 a ‘third generation’ PVB interlayer that mitigated the cloudinessissue was introduced to the glazing market. With the introduction of the third generationformulation, PVB is now ready for fullscale use in the solar industry, particularly for thin-film (TF)glass/glass applications.There is a controversial information about the application of both materials (EVA and PVB).Everything depends somehow or other on the ambition of the manufacturer to offer the best possible product to the customer, hence the impossibility to say for sure which is the optimaltemperature regime for production of photovoltaic modules laminated with EVA or PVB. Oneresearch report [2] proposes the following thermal treatment profile (long cycle) for EVA in alaminator (Figure 1):
 Figure 1: Thermal treatment profile (long cycle) in the laminator.
In the industry, the short or fast cycle is used for higher throughput. Its average duration isabout 22 to 25 minutes if the time of load and unload of the module is not taken into account. Theshort cycle finishes with the lamination step (6 minutes). After setting the laminator in unloadconditions, the laminate is withdrawn from and placed in the curing oven for the requiredreticulation process [2].Research had been done on PVB in PV modules, but it was stopped because of the water sensitivity of PVB. According to the research team, PVB does not have to be processed in anautoclave but with a one step lamination process. In the standard autoclave process there should be produced pressures of 12 bar and temperatures of 140°C for approximately 7 hours. Thedisadvantage of the autoclave free process is that it is approximately 150min long, in comparison toa standard lamination process of EVA, which takes only 25min [6]. PVB lamination process parameters as they are prescribed by the manufacturer are shown in Figure 2.Page 2 of 4
 Figure 2: Parameters of the lamination process for PVB.
A new process with a big potential of shortening and duration of only 54 min had beensuccessfully developed and. The process is shown in Figure 3.
 Figure 3: New developed process for the autoclave free polyvinyl butyral.
The advantage of this new process is that it is possible to take the laminate hot out of thelaminator without formation of any bubbles. Time to cool down the laminator is not needed. The process is a two step process. In the first step, where the laminator temperature is 90°C, PVB doesnot melt yet, but gets a little bit soft. At this time the air has to be removed completely out of thelaminate. In the second step where the PVB melts the solar cells get enclosed by the material. The pressure in the laminator enhances this effect. Important feature of this process is that a very goodvacuum (0.01 bar) inside the laminator should be maintained [6].Page 3 of 4

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