STP792

    Development of Low-Cost Polymers for Solar Energy Applications

    Published: Jan 1983


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    Abstract

    Polymers for solar energy applications have to meet rigorous cost goals in terms of material and fabrication costs, as well as stringent criteria for performance over long periods (>10 to 30 years) of outdoor deployment. Hence, the development of reliable models for life prediction of polymeric components is essential if projections of the life cycle cost of solar energy conversion devices are to be meaningful. These models are based on a mechanistic understanding of failure and degradation mechanisms in polymeric materials and on a correlation between failure rates and degradation rates. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., we have developed a solar polymer research and development program which has the following components: (a) study of degradation mechanisms, including those induced photochemically; (b) development of accelerated test procedures, including test chambers, test parameters, and test conditions; and (c) development of diagnostic techniques that can detect small changes in chemical properties in real-time abbreviated tests as well as predict incipient failures in accelerated tests.

    In this report, we describe the rationale for development of low-cost ultraviolet-absorbing transparent polymer films for solar applications. Developmental efforts have emphasized modification of existing polymers, rather than synthesis of new structures. In order to ensure long life, development of new polymers has to be integrated with the study of photothermal degradation mechanisms. This comprehensive effort has been utilized in the development of a stable polycarbonate and modified methacrylate polymers.

    Keywords:

    microstructure, solar energy, polymers, plastics, degradation mechanisms


    Author Information:

    Gupta, A
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Liang, RH
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Hong, SD
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Di Stefano, S
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Coulter, DR
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Chung, SY
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Oda, KL
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Clayton, AK
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Laue, E
    Technical group supervisor, technical group leader, senior scientist, scientist, engineering aide, technical assistant, and member of the technical staff, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


    Paper ID: STP31778S

    Committee/Subcommittee: E04.17

    DOI: 10.1520/STP31778S


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