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Micromachines

Rapid Prototyping of Polymer-Based Rolled-Up Microfluidic Devices.


PMID 30424449

Abstract

This work presents the simple and rapid fabrication of a polymer-based microfluidic prototype manufactured by rolling up thin films of polymer. The thin films were fabricated via a casting method and rolled up around a center core with the aid of plasma activation to create a three-dimensional (3D) spiral microchannel, hence reducing the time and cost of manufacture. In this work, rolled-up devices with single or dual fluidic networks fabricated from a single or two films were demonstrated for heat sink or heat exchanger applications, respectively. The experimental results show good heat transfer in the rolled-up system at various flow rates for both heat sink and heat exchanger devices, without any leakages. The rolled-up microfluidic system creates multiple curved channels, allowing for the generation of Dean vortices, which in turn lead to an enhancement of heat and mass transfer and prevention of fouling formation. These benefits enable the devices to be employed for many diverse applications, such as heat-transfer devices, micromixers, and sorters. To our knowledge, this work would be the first report on a microfluidic prototype of 3D spiral microchannel made from rolled-up polymeric thin film. This novel fabrication approach may represent the first step towards the development of a pioneering prototype for roll-to-roll processing, permitting the mass production of polymer-based microchannels from single or multiple thin films.

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