Investigation on the mechanical behavior of poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogel membrane under compression in the assembly process of microfluidic system



A microfluidic system with an inserted membrane assembled using mechanical fastening process is described. The membrane is made of a biocompatible water swollen poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA) hydrogel thin film as a sealing component. The hyperelastic characteristics of PHEMA membrane under the compression during fastening are investigated through numerical simulations, including strain and Von Mises stress distribution, and potential fracture in correlation with the microchannel's geometry and dimensions. To validate the modeling, the experiments have also been conducted to visualize the deformation induced in membrane and internal stress distribution using 3D optical measuring system. The results from this study have revealed the implications in connection with the mechanical behavior of the PHEMA membranes in the assembly of microfluidic system through mechanical fastening technique. This will ultimately assist to produce a guideline for the optimum design of microchannels in the uses of PHEMA membranes and associated assembly process. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2014, 52, 485–495