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A hydrogel-actuated environmentally sensitive microvalve for active flow control

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5 Author(s)
Baldi, Antonio ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA ; Yuandong Gu ; Loftness, P.E. ; Siegel, R.A.
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This paper reports on the fabrication and test of a hydrogel-actuated microvalve that responds to changes in the concentration of specific chemical species in an external liquid environment. The microvalve consists of a thin hydrogel, sandwiched between a stiff porous membrane and a flexible silicone rubber diaphragm. Swelling and deswelling of the hydrogel, which results from the diffusion of chemical species through the porous membrane is accompanied by the deflection of the diaphragm and hence closure and opening of the valve intake orifice. A phenylboronic-acid-based hydrogel was used to construct a smart microvalve that responds to the changes in the glucose and pH concentrations. The fastest response time (for a pH concentration cycle) achieved was 7 min using a 30-μm-thick hydrogel and a 60-μm-thick porous membrane with 0.1 μm pore size and 40% porosity.

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Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 5 )