Comparison of Crosslinking Kinetics of UV-Transparent Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate Copolymer and Polyolefin Elastomer Encapsulants
Encapsulants based on ethylene-vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA) or polyolefin elastomers (POE) are essential for glass or photovoltaic module laminates. To improve their multi-functional property profile and their durability, the encapsulants are frequently peroxide crosslinked. The crosslinking kinetics are affected by the macromolecular structure and the formulation with stabilizers such as phenolic antioxidants, hindered amine light stabilizers or aromatic ultraviolet (UV) absorbers. The main objective of this study was to implement temperature-rise and isothermal dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) approaches in torsional mode and to assess and compare the crosslinking kinetics of novel UV-transparent encapsulants based on EVA and POE. The gelation time was evaluated from the crossover of the storage and loss shear modulus. While the investigated EVA and POE encapsulants revealed quite similar activation energy values of 155 kJ/moles, the storage modulus and complex viscosity in the rubbery state were significantly higher for EVA. Moreover, the gelation of the polar EVA grade was about four times faster than for the less polar POE encapsulant. Accordingly, the curing reaction of POE was retarded up to a factor of 1.6 to achieve a progress of crosslinking of 95%. Hence, distinct differences in the crosslinking kinetics of the UV-transparent EVA and POE grades were ascertained, which is highly relevant for the lamination of modules.
Publication date: 01/04/2022
Author: Gernot M. Wallner
Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym14071441