Aging behavior of polymeric solar absorber materials: Aging on the component level
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Within this study, the aging behavior of a PPE + PS absorber material was investigated on the absorber component level. To indicate aging, characteristic mechanical values were determined by indentation tests of specimens taken from components and exposed to laboratory aging (140 °C in air, 80 °C in water) and service near outdoor aging conditions (stagnation in northern climate). In addition to the mechanical tests, the unaged and aged specimens were also characterized thermo-analytically via differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The results indicate that reductions in both characteristic mechanical values of the indentation tests, i.e., load of the first transition and ultimate indentation, reflect at least some physical aging although chemical aging may also be of importance based on previous analytical investigations of laboratory aged polymer films. While laboratory aging in air at 140 °C and service exposure at a test facility in Oslo (N) under stagnation conditions led to a significant reduction in the mechanical indentation resistance, no influence of laboratory aging in water at 80 °C on the mechanical behavior of the absorber sheet was found. Depending on the ultimate failure criterion applied (reduction of characteristic mechanical values to 80% and 50%, respectively), the technical service life found for hot air laboratory and stagnation service conditions was found to be less than 51 and 159 h, respectively. As these durations are significantly below the estimated stagnation conditions accumulated in the desired operation lifetime for such a collector, the PPE + PS type investigated does not seem to be a proper material candidate for solar thermal absorbers. Finally, based on the results obtained, a relation between laboratory aging time in air at 140 °C and cumulated irradiation energy during exposure on the test facility in Oslo was established.