A combined experimental and analytical study of strains that develop in encapsulated assemblies during casting, curing, and thermal excursions is described. The experimental setup, designed to measure in situ strains, consisted of thin, closed-end, metal tubes that were instrumented with strain gages and thermocouples before being over-potted with an encapsulant. Three epoxy-based materials were studied. After cure of the encapsulant, tube strains were measured over the temperature range of −55°C to 90°C. The thermal excursion experiments were then numerically modeled using finite element analyses and the results were compared to the experimental results. The predicted strains were overestimated (conservative) when a linear, elastic, temperature-dependent material model was assumed for the encapsulant and the stress free temperature was assumed to correspond to the cure temperature of the encapsulant. Very good agreement was obtained with the linear elastic calculations provided that the stress free temperature corresponded to the onset of the glassy-to-rubbery transition range of the encapsulant. Finally, very good agreement was obtained when a viscoelastic material model was utilized and a stress free temperature corresponding to the cure temperature was assumed.

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