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ME Winter Seminar - 2/1214

You are cordially invited to the Mechanical Department Seminar Series

Speaker: Kedar Hardikar
Date: Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Location: Bannan Hall 142 (Law Building)
Time: 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

TITLE:
 
ESTABLISHING LONG TERM RELIABILITY OF THE EDGE SEAL IN PV MODULES FOR ITS MOISTURE BARRIER PERFORMANCE

ABSTRACT:
A critical failure mechanism of PV modules is the degradation in performance as a result of exposure to temperature and humidity during typical product life of over 25 years. The time to failure of a PV module under given field conditions attributable to moisture ingress involves multiple factors including encapsulant and edge seal moisture barrier performance as well as the degradation rate of particular solar cells when exposed to moisture. The work presented is aimed at establishing a conservative estimate of field lifetime by examining the time to breakthrough of moisture across the edge seal. Establishing a lifetime model for the edge seal independent of the characteristics of the encapsulant and solar cells facilitates design optimization of the cells and encapsulant.  A novel test configuration is proposed for accelerated testing of edge seal materials in standard temperature-humidity controlled chambers that is amenable to varying dimensions of the edge seal and decoupled from encapsulated components. A theoretical framework is
developed to analyze moisture ingress performance of edge seal accounting for the presence of desiccants. An approach to analyzing test data from accelerated testing is developed that incorporates temperature dependence of material properties of the edge seal. Proposed equations and functional forms have been validated by demonstrating fits to experimental test data.
These functional forms and equations allow prediction of edge seal performance in field conditions characterized by historical meteorological data. In the specific case of the edge seal used in certain MiaSole glass-glass modules, this work has established that the edge seal can prevent moisture ingress well beyond the intended service life in the most aggressive climate conditions evaluated.

SPEAKER BIOGRAPHY:
Kedar Hardikar is a Staff Scientist at MiaSole and an adjunct faculty member at San Jose State University and Santa Clara University. Kedar holds a Ph.D from the Division of Engineering, Brown University. His roles at MiaSole include assisting product development, improving reliability of the product and leading selected research and development projects using analysis and computational models. Kedar has held several key positions over more than 10 years in semiconductor capital equipment industry and consumer electronics industry before joining MiaSole.