Journal Article Microfluidic Fabrication Solutions for Tailor-Designed Fiber Suspensions

Berthet, Helene  ,  du Roure, Olivia  ,  Lindner, Anke

6 ( 12 )  , p.385 , 2016-11-30 , MDPI
Fibers are widely used in different industrial processes, for example in paper manufacturing or lost circulation problems in the oil industry. Recently, interest towards the use of fibers at the microscale has grown, driven by research in bio-medical applications or drug delivery systems. Microfluidic systems are not only directly relevant for lab-on-chip applications, but have also proven to be good model systems to tackle fundamental questions about the flow of fiber suspensions. It has therefore become necessary to provide fiber-like particles with an excellent control of their properties. We present here two complementary in situ methods to fabricate controlled micro-fibers allowing for an embedded fabrication and flow-on-a-chip platform. The first one, based on a photo-lithography principle, can be used to make isolated fibers and dilute fiber suspensions at specific locations of interest inside a microchannel. The self-assembly property of super-paramagnetic colloids is the principle of the second fabrication method, which enables the fabrication of concentrated suspensions of more flexible fibers. We propose a flow gallery with several examples of fiber flow illustrating the two methods' capabilities and a range of recent laminar flow results.

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