The characteristics and mechanisms of damage and failure in microfluidic joints consisting of Kovar metal tubes attached to silicon using borosilicate glass seals have been investigated. These joints are representative of seals for the MIT microrocket which is a silicon-based MEMS device. A key concern in such joints is the occurrence of cracks in silicon and glass due to residual stresses caused by a large thermal excursion during processing and the dissimilar coefficients of thermal expansion of the constituent materials. Joints with two types of glass compositions and joint configurations were fabricated, tested, and inspected. Axial tension tests were performed to investigate load carrying capability and the effect of thermally-induced cracks. Finite element models were used to obtain residual stresses due to the fabrication, and the location of the cracks from the experiments were found to coincide with the locations of the maximum principal stresses. The current work shows that the certain types of thermally-induced cracks are more detrimental to joint strength than others and a good bond between the Kovar tube and the silicon sidewall can help increase joint strength via shear load transfer.
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Shim, DJ., Sun, HW., Vengallatore, S. et al. Damage and Failure Mechanisms in High Pressure Silicon-Glass-Metal Microfluidic Connections. MRS Online Proceedings Library 782, 33 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-782-A3.3