The main focus of this work is to investigate the degradation behavior of two newly developed encapsulants for photovoltaic applications (thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyolefin elastomer (POE)), compared to the most widely used Ethylene Vinyl Acetate (EVA) upon exposure to two different artificial ageing tests (with and without ultraviolet (UV) irradiation). Additive composition, optical and thermal properties and chemical structure (investigated by means of Thermal Desorption Gas Chromatography coupled to Mass Spectrometry, UV-Visible-Near Infrared spectroscopy, Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Thermogravimetric Analysis and Fourier Transform-Infrared spectroscopy, respectively) of the analyzed polymers were monitored throughout the exposure to artificial ageing tests. Relevant signs of photo-oxidation were detectable for TPO after the UV test, as well as a depletion of material’s stabilizers. Signs of degradation for EVA and POE were detected when the UV dose applied was equal to 200 kW h m−2. A novel approach is presented to derive information of oxidation induction time/dose from thermogravimetric measurements that correlate well with results obtained by using oxidation indices.
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