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A Planar Compliance-Based Self-Adaptive MicrofluidVariable Resistor

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2 Author(s)
Bozhi Yang ; Dept. of Mech. Eng., Carnegie Mellon Univ., Pittsburgh, PA ; Lin, Qiao

This paper presents a self-adaptive microfluidic variable resistor that accomplishes passive control of liquid flows by exploiting the large compliance of elastomeric polymers such as polydimethylsiloxane. The device features a compliant microstructure embedded in a microchannel that consists of a flexible thin flap and a stiff stopper located in close proximity. The shape and size of the gap between the flap and stopper vary with the applied pressure, resulting in small resistance with respect to forward flow and large resistance with respect to reverse flow. The variable flow resistor shows an interesting diode behavior because its flow resistance is drastically different for different directions of applied pressures and is self-adaptive in the sense that its flow resistance varies with reverse pressure in such a way that the resulting flow rate remains a constant. That is, the flow resistor can be used as a check valve and, more importantly, a passive flow regulator. Prototype devices have demonstrated regulation of nearly constant water flow rates from 0.21 to 1.2 ml/min, with variations less than 3%, under driving pressures that vary significantly from 100 to over 200 kPa. Three-dimensional fluid-structure interaction simulations have been performed to investigate the interactions between the fluid flow and flap deflection. The simulation results agree with the experimental data and provide insight into the device characteristics. Based on its single-layer planar configuration, passive operation over a large pressure range, and use of a flexible and inexpensive polymer, this self-adaptive variable flow resistor is well suited to flow control in lab-on-a-chip systems

Published in:

Microelectromechanical Systems, Journal of  (Volume:16 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

April 2007

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