This paper describes the fabrication of microfluidic cloth-based analytical devices (μCADs) using a simple wax patterning method on cotton cloth for performing colorimetric bioassays. Commercial cotton cloth fabric is proposed as a new inexpensive, lightweight, and flexible platform for fabricating two- (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) microfluidic systems. We demonstrated that the wicking property of the cotton microfluidic channel can be improved by scouring in soda ash (Na(2)CO(3)) solution which will remove the natural surface wax and expose the underlying texture of the cellulose fiber. After this treatment, we fabricated narrow hydrophilic channels with hydrophobic barriers made from patterned wax to define the 2D microfluidic devices. The designed pattern is carved on wax-impregnated paper, and subsequently transferred to attached cotton cloth by heat treatment. To further obtain 3D microfluidic devices having multiple layers of pattern, a single layer of wax patterned cloth can be folded along a predefined folding line and subsequently pressed using mechanical force. All the fabrication steps are simple and low cost since no special equipment is required. Diagnostic application of cloth-based devices is shown by the development of simple devices that wick and distribute microvolumes of simulated body fluids along the hydrophilic channels into reaction zones to react with analytical reagents. Colorimetric detection of bovine serum albumin (BSA) in artificial urine is carried out by direct visual observation of bromophenol blue (BPB) colour change in the reaction zones. Finally, we show the flexibility of the novel microfluidic platform by conducting a similar reaction in a bent pinned μCAD.
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