By Renewable Energy Focus Staff
Munich-based chemical company Wacker has developed a new silicone encapsulant for the solar industry which enables flexible thin-film solar modules to be laminated using roll-to-roll processing.
Marketed under the trade name ELASTOSIL Solar 2200, the new product is transparent, pourable and non-corrosive.
According to Wacker, the silicone product vulcanises quickly at elevated temperature, has strong adhesive properties and, in its cured state, provides all types of thin-film solar cells with effective long-term protection from chemical and mechanical stresses.
ELASTOSIL Solar 2200 is a two-component liquid silicone rubber which vulcanises to form a transparent silicone elastomer. It readily bonds to glass and flexible films made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) and activated ethylene tetrafluoroethylene copolymer (ETFE) without the need for a primer.
Wacker says the rubber system has been specially formulated to provide a long pot life at room temperature, combined with rapid vulcanisation when heat is applied. The reactivity range of this new encapsulant allows module manufacturers to produce flexible modules cost-effectively using continuous roll-to-roll processing techniques which are more familiar in the textile and paper industry.