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Title: Optical and Mechanical Durability of Polymeric Materials for Solar Collectors

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Solar Energy Program
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Conference: ANTEC 2007 Plastics: Annual Technical Conference Proceedings, 6-11 May 2007, Cincinnati, Ohio
Country of Publication:
United States
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Solar Energy - Photovoltaics

Citation Formats

Jorgensen, G. J.. Optical and Mechanical Durability of Polymeric Materials for Solar Collectors. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
Jorgensen, G. J.. Optical and Mechanical Durability of Polymeric Materials for Solar Collectors. United States.
Jorgensen, G. J.. Mon . "Optical and Mechanical Durability of Polymeric Materials for Solar Collectors". United States. doi:.
title = {Optical and Mechanical Durability of Polymeric Materials for Solar Collectors},
author = {Jorgensen, G. J.},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}

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  • The economic viability of solar collector systems for domestic hot water (DHW) generation is strongly linked to the cost of such systems. Installation and hardware costs must be reduced by 50% to allow significant market penetration[1]. An attractive approach to cost reduction is to replace glass and metal parts with less expensive, lighter-weight polymeric components. Weight reduction decreases the cost of shipping, handling, and installation. The use of polymeric materials also allows the benefits and cost savings associated with well established manufacturing processes, along with savings associated with improved fastening, reduced part count, and overall assembly refinements. A key challengemore » is to maintain adequate system performance and assure requisite durability for extended lifetimes. Results of preliminary and ongoing screening tests for a large number of candidate polymeric glazing materials are presented. Based on these results, two specific glazings are selected to demonstrate how a service lifetime methodology can be applied to accurately predict the optical performance of these materials during in-service use.« less
  • No abstract prepared.
  • Absorbers, covers, and concentrators or boosters are identified as major components in solar heat collectors, and their roles are explained. Optical characteristics affecting their performance are defined. These characteristics and the service conditions are combined into single measures of technical performance, the absorptance of merit for an absorber and the transmittance of merit for a cover. Trade-offs in optical characteristics are then discussed from a technical performance point of view; e.g., how much a sacrifice in solar absorptance or transmittance is warranted for a certain gain in infrared reflectance. Trade-offs involving both cost and performance are discussed through the introductionmore » of a figure of merit or criterion function. A thermodynamic quantity, available energy, is shown to be appropriate in defining a figure of merit for power generation. Illustrative trade-offs are shown for swimming pool heaters, domestic water heaters, absorptive air conditioner regenerators, and power plant boilers.« less
  • Polymeric films are used in the construction of the absorber and window portions of a flat plate solar collector. The absorber heat exchanger consists of a channeled liquid envelope constructed using a polymeric film and metal foil laminate. In addition, the composite films and light frame monocoque construction contribute to very light weight and low cost. The use of high-performance polymers permits low-loss designs with high thermal performance. The construction concepts are consistent with high speed mass production and installation with manufacturing cost projections of $15/m/sup 2/. Tests performed at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and elsewhere indicate performance potential consistentmore » with applications incorporating solar absorption air conditioning.« less
  • The Solar Heating and Lighting Program has set the goal of reducing the cost of solar water heating systems by at least 50%. An attractive approach to such large cost reduction is to replace glass and metal parts with less-expensive, lighter-weight, more-integrated polymeric components. The key challenge with polymers is to maintain performance and assure requisite durability for extended lifetimes. The objective of this task is to quantify lifetimes through measurement of the optical and mechanical stability of candidate polymeric glazing and absorber materials. Polycarbonate sheet glazings, as proposed by two industry partners, have been tested for resistance to UVmore » radiation with three complementary methods. Incorporation of a specific 2-mil thick UV-absorbing screening layer results in glazing lifetimes of at least 15 years; improved screens promise even longer lifetimes. Proposed absorber materials were tested for creep and embrittlement under high temperature, and appear adequate for planned ICS absorbers.« less