Validation of a tolerance analysis for the assembly of modular, polymer microfluidic devices was performed using simulations and experiments. A set of three v-groove and hemisphere-tipped post joints was adopted as a model assembly features. An assembly function with assembly feature dimensions and locations was modeled kinematically. Monte Carlo methods were applied to the assembly function to simulate variation of the assembly. Assembly accuracy was evaluated assuming that the variations of the assembly features were randomly distributed. The estimated mismatches were 118 ± 30 μm and 19 ± 13 μm along the X- and Y-axes, respectively. The estimated vertical gap between the modules at the alignment standards along the X- and Y-axes 312 ± 37 μm and 313 ± 37 μm, compared to the designed value of 287 μm. To validate the tolerance model, two micromilled brass mold inserts containing the assembly features and alignment standards were used to double-sided injection mold polymer parts. The accuracy of the assembly of the modular microdevices was estimated by measuring the mismatch and vertical gaps between alignment standards on each axis. The measured lateral mismatches were 103 ± 6 μm and 16 ± 4 μm along the X- and Y-axes, respectively. The vertical gaps measured for the assemblies were 316 ± 4 μm and 296 ± 9 μm at the X- and Y-axes, compared to the designed distance of 287 μm. Simulation and experimental results were in accordance with each other. The models can be used to predict the assembly tolerance of polymer microfluidic devices and have significant potential for enabling the realization of cost-effective mass production of modular instruments.

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