PhD defence of Dylan Habans

4 June 2024

A contribution to the material design of polymer-based photovoltaic modules: thermomechanical studies, finite element models and prototyping

PhD defence of Dylan Habans

Dylan Habans conducted his PhD work under the supervision of Jean-Luc Bouvard and Noëlle Billon. He will defend his thesis in front of the following jury:

– Mrs Carole NADOT-MARTIN ENSMA Poitiers
– Mr Cyrille SOLLOGOUB ENSAM Paris
– Mr Renaud RINALDI INSA Lyon
– Mr Jean-Luc BOUVARD Mines Paris – PSL
– Mrs Noëlle BILLON Mines Paris – PSL
– Mr Jean-Baptiste CHARPENTIER CEA Grenoble


The production of electricity from renewable energies is becoming crucial to the decarbonization of society. In this context, electricity generated by solar photovoltaics is growing exponentially. Some of the paths for the development of photovoltaic solar power consider the adaptability of modules to all types of supports, with load or shape restrictions that require a departure from the standard nomenclature developed 70~years ago. The aim of this work is to design lightweight, flexible photovoltaic modules whose structure is based solely on polymer materials.

To achieve this, we are focusing on three aspects. Firstly, the macroscopic thermomechanical behavior of thermoplastic polymers is measured. The time, temperature and thermal history dependencies of the materials are analyzed in the temperature ranges encountered in the photovoltaic industry. Several simplified models are then built using the finite element method. The calculations enable structural effects to be analyzed, and module design to be oriented towards reducing thermomechanical stresses during the process and thermal cycling aging. A method for validating behavior laws is proposed. Finally, prototype modules are produced, aged and characterized. The main degradations of all-polymer modules are identified and studied, in particular by means of an analytical model.

Keywords: Photovoltaic modules, Thermoplastic polymers, Material design, Finite element analysis, Thermomechanical behavior, Viscoelasticity

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