Analysis of materials for use in renewable energy systems

Thermal balance to determine the water vapour adsorption capacity of large composite samples as a function of pressure and temperature.

Center for Material Characterization and Durability Analysis

In the “Center for Material Characterization and Durability Analysis”, Fraunhofer ISE pools its technical competence in the testing and measurement of many different materials for applications in active and passive solar energy utilization, energy storage and building energy technology.

One focus is the comprehensive analysis of the material characteristics. We specialize in the investigation of semiconductors, solar cells, photovoltaic modules, thermochemical and porous materials (e. g. zeolite), phase change materials (PCM), phase change slurries (PCS), polymers as well as coatings on glass and metal and develop suitable, new methods for material characterization, especially non-destructive analytical methods. We also have many years of expertise in investigating material performance under different load conditions e. g. in different climate zones. In order to predict the performance and durability of materials under these different applications, we make use of data from analytical measurements, real operation and from accelerated lifetime tests. We also create simulation models in order to calculate the material behavior and degradation.


Technical Facilities

Material Characterization


Differential Scanning Calorimeter DSC (10 μl to 10 ml, -90 to 700 °C)

Modulated temperature calorimeter (up to 100ml, -10 to 180 °C)

Hot plate system (up to 50 cm x 50 cm) to determine the heat capacity as a function of temperature

Laser flash and hot-wire apparatus to determine the heat and thermal conductivity (-90 °C to 500 °C)

Lock-in thermography and electroluminescence

BET porosimetry to determine surface area and pore structure of highly porous materials

X-ray diffractometer (XRD) to determine crystal structure

Confocal Raman microscope with AFM

Rotational rheometer to determine flow behavior of materials in the range from -20 °C to 600 °C

Mass spectrometer to determine temperature-dependent permeation characteristics of barrier materials

FT IR spectrometer with integrating spheres (UV/visible, IR)

Photoluminescence, thermographic and electrical methods for the spatially resolved and quantitative analysis of silicon material quality and solar cells

Durability Analysis

Outdoor test sites with comprehensive monitoring in different climate zones

Cyclic temperature tests of PCM and hydrothermal cycling of adsorbent composite samples

Test set-ups for investigation degradation of materials and components, for semiconductors, solar cells and modules