Thomas Kauffman

External Innovation Director

H.B. Fuller


Tom has over 39 years of experience in the adhesive and sealants industry. Currently he is working as External Innovation Director at H.B. Fuller. In this role he helps manage the company's long-range R&D technology portfolio and works to identify technologies of interest from academia, start-ups, and the global chemical industry to address strategic technology needs with an emphasis on sustainable technologies. Tom obtained an M.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering from Lehigh University and an M.B.A. from University of Minnesota. He is an inventor on 35 granted US patents.

Presentation Abstract

Polyolefin Encapsulant Platforms for Photovoltaic Modules

The assembly of photovoltaic (PV) modules requires a variety of adhesives and sealants including an encapsulant. The PV encapsulant is laminated to the solar module to provide protection from the elements and must remain effective for the lifetime of the module under harsh environmental conditions. Several new patent-pending polyolefin technology approaches have recently been developed for PV encapsulation which meet the exacting demands for solar modules and provide for increased manufacturing flexibility, security of raw material supply and cost control. The performance and optimization process for these platforms will be presented. Performance data on glass and backsheet adhesion, accelerated aging performance, electrical resistivity, and haze will be presented for these platforms.

A review of the multiple, separate but inter-related rheological requirements involved in the production of the encapsulants, the lamination of the solar modules, and the field performance of the modules will  also be presented. The key role of rheological testing to streamline the optimization process will be emphasized including the ability to adjust the rheological characteristics to improve production efficiency and field performance of the encapsulant as are demanded by changes in module design.


Co-author: Dr. Jayesh Bokria

Presentation Time

Breakout XI - Polyolefin Adhesive Solutions

Friday, 13 September 2024, 11:00 - 11:30

FEICA Conference