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In this paper, the strongest yet latchable valve in subcubic-centimeter size for microfluidic applications is presented. The device has an integrated actuator cavity consisting of three segments filled with paraffin, each operated by a separate heater. At one of the segments, a membrane valve head is deflected by the expansion of the resistively melted paraffin to close against its valve seat. Different heating sequences provide a latched closed or opened valve. The maximum pressure before any leakage occurred was 2.5 MPa. The leak pressure is found to be progressively dependent on the clamping pressure applied. The valve has an opening and closing time of 7 and 1 s, respectively. At an applied pressure of 0.3 MPa, the closed valve needs to be reactivated every 100 min to remain leakage free, leading to an average power consumption of 4.5 mW.
Date of Publication: April 2010