Abstract

Vibrational spectroscopy was found to be a suitable method for the determination of the degree of cross-linking of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) polymers. Spectral changes in the Raman spectra of EVA with increasing lamination time (which equals increasing degree of cross-linking) were mainly detected in the CH vibrational regions, namely, in the relative intensities of the characteristic CH<sub>3</sub> and CH<sub>2</sub> bands. These spectral regions were chosen for a chemometric evaluation where a calibration was performed with the Raman spectra of reference EVA samples and the results obtained from corresponding thermal analysis (differential scanning calorimetry) and Soxhlet extraction data. These datasets were subsequently used to non-destructively determine the progress of cross-linking in EVA foils, embedded in various mini-modules by Raman microscopy. Thus, we could show that Raman spectroscopy is a highly interesting method for quality control in the production of photovoltaic (PV) modules. However, this approach is valid only for a given grade of EVA, meaning a demand for a new calibration when changing the supplier or the type of EVA used. In addition, the applicability of infrared spectroscopy for the determination of the degree of cross-linking was tested. A good correlation of the decrease in intensity of the characteristic cross-linker infrared bands with increasing progress of the cross-linking was found, as determined by reference methods. However, this analytical method requires taking samples of the EVA foils and is, thus, unsuitable for the non-destructive determination of the degree of cross-linking of the EVA encapsulated within a PV module.

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