We describe a comprehensive analysis of the nano-creep deformation of an epoxy adhesive used in physical-contact optical fiber connectors. To design a highly reliable multicore fiber connector and predict the long-term reliability of commercially installed optical connectors, we focus on the change in fiber withdrawal, which is a key parameter for achieving physical-contact connection. We also propose an adhesive creep model that includes long-term time dependence by detailing through a finite element analysis the parameters that influence the fiber withdrawal, such as shear stress with connection, thermal stress, residual stress, swelling, and cure shrinkage. The measurement results for fiber withdrawal under several environmental conditions provided in this paper support the behaviors considered in our proposed model. From our obtained short-term results and rheological approach, we predict the nano-creep deformation observed in the connector over the long term by applying the time-temperature superposition principle, and discuss the correspondence with exposure test results. Our verified mechanism and estimated values of creep deformation prove the high reliability of the optical connectors and also provide guidelines for determining the need to update installed connectors and for designing future connection devices such as physical-contact multicore fiber connectors.
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