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Effect of particle size of Martian dust on the degradation of photovoltaic cell performanceGlass coverglass and SiO2 covered and uncovered silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells were subjected to conditions simulating a Mars dust storm, using the Martian Surface Wind Tunnel, to assess the effect of particle size on the performance of PV cells in the Martian environment. The dust used was an artificial mineral of the approximate elemental composition of Martian soil, which was sorted into four different size ranges. Samples were tested both initially clean and initially dusted. The samples were exposed to clear and dust laden winds, wind velocities varying from 23 to 116 m/s, and attack angles from 0 to 90 deg. It was found that transmittance through the coverglass approximates the power produced by a dusty PV cell. Occultation by the dust was found to dominate the performance degradation for wind velocities below 50 m/s, whereas abrasion dominates the degradation at wind velocities above 85 m/s. Occultation is most severe at 0 deg (parallel to the wind), is less pronounced from 22.5 to 67.5 deg, and is somewhat larger at 90 deg (perpendicular to the wind). Abrasion is negligible at 0 deg, and increases to a maximum at 90 deg. Occultation is more of a problem with small particles, whereas large particles (unless they are agglomerates) cause more abrasion.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Gaier, James R.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Perez-Davis, Marla E.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:105232
Meeting Information
International Solar Energy Conference(Maui, HI)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 506-41-41
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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