Photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturing involves the use of many aggressive
chemicals and operates under very severe environments, including high
temperatures and reactive plasma. As more aggressive processing variants
and technologies are used to help increase equipment uptime and cell
efficiency, more strain is placed on the manufacturing process. Sealing
performance can vary dramatically; thus selecting the appropriate sealing
material can help reduce unscheduled downtime, product loss and safety
concerns to the work environment.
Perfluoroelastomers and fluoroelastomers are widely used as seals in PV
cell manufacturing equipment due to their extraordinary resistance to
chemicals and heat. The first commercial perfluoroelastomer was developed
in 1968 by E.I. duPont de Nemours. It was sold as parts (seals) under the
trade name DuPont™ Kalrez®. The first commercial fluoroelastomer was
produced by E.I. duPont de Nemours in 1957. It was sold under the trade name DuPontTMViton® (Viton® A). From this beginning, the use of perfluoroelastomers and fluoroelastomers has increased steadily as application requirements have become more stringent. Today, perfluoroelastomer and fluoroelastomer seals are manufactured by a number of companies worldwide including DuPont.