Mechanical Testing Photovoltaic or Solar Cells
With a growing worldwide focus on “green energy”, companies around the world are racing to develop higher efficiency and lower cost solar cells for various applications. We were asked to provide several materials testing systems to assist in the evaluation of the mechanical performance of thin films and substrates used in the manufacture of photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells. Solar cells are developed and manufactured by numerous companies globally, each looking to optimize the energy output from the cell, while maintaining a high quality and reliability, and minimizing the cost of these devices. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies — collectively known as electrotechnology.
A company selling solar cells must obtain certification to IEC 61646 Specification ‘Thin-film terrestrial photovoltaic (PV) modules - Design qualification and type approval’. This test standard is used globally by the solar industry to verify that new solar modules and the encapsulation materials, and manufacturers of solar modules meet a minimum set of functional and mechanical requirements to prove confidence for claim of long-term (+20 year) modules performance integrity. Obtaining this certification is critical to the manufacturer in assuring potential customers of the quality and reliability of the company’s solar cells. Section 10.16 details the mechanical load testing requirements that must be met. Our electromechanical testing systems are used to comply with these requirements - one of which contains a four-point bend testing requirement of glass and stainless steel substrates to ensure the edge strength of these substrates.
In addition, 90° peel adhesion testing is performed on the various layers of thin films, also known as “stacks". This confirms the quality of the adhesion between the layers and the adhesives used. It is important for companies to know the adhesion strength of these various film layers and which interface may contain the least amount of adhesion strength before submitting a stack to more rigorous thermal cycling and the various other tests contained within IEC 61646.
We recommend using a single column electromechanical testing systems equipped with a 90° peel adhesion fixture, pneumatic side action grips and rubber coated grip faces for measuring the peel adhesion forces for these thin film stacks. Bluehill® Software automates the adhesion force measurement and provides the operator with supreme confidence in the testing results. Our unique 90° peel fixture is designed with zero friction so all force measurements are a direct result of the film and adhesive. Since film strength is so important, many companies have used the single column machines with pneumatic grips for tensile testing of thin films to investigate film tensile strength performance. In addition, companies have used the 3343 or 5543 models, along with Bluehill® and a four-point bend fixture for verifying compliance to IEC 61646.
In summary, electromechanical testing systems and accessories help manufacturers ensure compliance to all of the mechanical load testing outlined in IEC 61646. Your local Instron technical representative can assist you in properly configuring a testing system to meet your requirements.
Bluehill 2 material testing software is the second generation of the original fully-integrated modular software package that provides easy tailored application solutions for today's laboratory managers and test technicians. In addition to the standard testing applications including tensile, compression, flexural, peel, tear and friction, Bluehill 2 has several new and unique added features.
- 2.5 MB
Instron 3300 Series Universal Testing Systems for Tensile, Compression, Bend, and other material property tests.
- 12.0 MB
90° Angle Peel Fixture catalog number 2820-035
- 140.2 KB