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from Brückner Technology Center
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28 Apr 2010

Successful stretching of fluoro thermoplastics

 

By stretching thermoplastic fluoropolymers it is possible to increase the mechanical properties considerably. Thus it is possible to reduce costs by using thinner films. Also an improved further processing (e.g. coating) should therefore be taken for granted.


 

Flexible solar cells

First application for flexible solar cells has been the mobile electric power supply of small devices. By using fluoropolymers as so called “front sheets”, it will be possible to increase their lifetime considerably in future. Precondition for this effect is a cost-efficient production of fluoropolymer films. The stretching of films could be very promising here. 

Thermoplastic processable fluoropolymers are characterized by high chemical resistance, high long-term thermal stability, good weathering resistance, high purity, low dielectric loss factor as well as non-adhesive properties. Fluoropolmyers are used in the field of chemical plant construction, automotive engineering, as a coating material in the field of architecture as well as in the semi-conductor and telecommunications industry. 

The field of architecture and the high increasing market of solar application require more flexible solutions. Currently there is a strong demand for fluoropolymers due to their profile of characteristics. Most important in this field are low flammability, resistance to atmospheric conditions, barrier and high light transmission. Due to the well-balanced characteristics-/price relationship the material ETFE is preferable used. The low stiffness and creep resistance however are disadvantageous and cause problems during further processing. 

It is well known from the literature that biaxial stretching of polymers leads to improved mechanical characteristics. Films simultaneously stretched at our laboratory stretching frame KARO IV show that - depending on the stretching ratio - the mechanical characteristics could be improved significantly. The enclosed chart (see pdf) shows the variation of the tensile strength of different fluoropolymers before and after the stretching process. 

If you want to learn more about how Brückner`s experience in this field could support you please contact Mr. Roland Lund at our R & D department: roland.lund@brueckner.com

 

Flexible module of an organic solar cell