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A geometrical multi-scale numerical method for coupled hygro-thermo-mechanical problems in photovoltaic laminates

Lenarda, Pietro and Paggi, Marco A geometrical multi-scale numerical method for coupled hygro-thermo-mechanical problems in photovoltaic laminates. Computational Mechanics, 57 (6). pp. 947-963. ISSN 0178-7675 (2016)

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A comprehensive computational framework based on the finite element method for the simulation of coupled hygro-thermo-mechanical problems in photovoltaic laminates is herein proposed. While the thermo-mechanical problem takes place in the three-dimensional space of the laminate, moisture diffusion occurs in a two-dimensional domain represented by the polymeric layers and by the vertical channel cracks in the solar cells. Therefore, a geometrical multi-scale solution strategy is pursued by solving the partial differential equations governing heat transfer and thermo-elasticity in the three-dimensional space, and the partial differential equation for moisture diffusion in the two dimensional domains. By exploiting a staggered scheme, the thermo-mechanical problem is solved first via a fully implicit solution scheme in space and time, with a specific treatment of the polymeric layers as zero-thickness interfaces whose constitutive response is governed by a novel thermo-visco-elastic cohesive zone model based on fractional calculus. Temperature and relative displacements along the domains where moisture diffusion takes place are then projected to the finite element model of diffusion, coupled with the thermo-mechanical problem by the temperature and crack opening dependent diffusion coefficient. The application of the proposed method to photovoltaic modules pinpoints two important physical aspects: (i) moisture diffusion in humidity freeze tests with a temperature dependent diffusivity is a much slower process than in the case of a constant diffusion coefficient; (ii) channel cracks through Silicon solar cells significantly enhance moisture diffusion and electric degradation, as confirmed by experimental tests.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1007/s00466-016-1271-5
Projects: ERC StG CA2PVM 306622
Funders: European Research Council
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Prof Marco Paggi
Date Deposited: 27 Dec 2016 09:12
Last Modified: 27 Dec 2016 09:12
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/3613

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