Rapid Prototyping of Reconfigurable Microfluidic Channels in Undercooled Metal Particle-Elastomer Composites

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Chang, Boyce
Fratzl, Mario
Boyer, Andrea
Martin, Andrew
Ahrenholtz, Henry
De Moraes, Isabelle
Bloch, Jean-Francis
Dempsey, Nora
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Mechanical Engineering
The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University is where innovation thrives and the impossible is made possible. This is where your passion for problem-solving and hands-on learning can make a real difference in our world. Whether you’re helping improve the environment, creating safer automobiles, or advancing medical technologies, and athletic performance, the Department of Mechanical Engineering gives you the tools and talent to blaze your own trail to an amazing career.
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Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering teaches the composition, microstructure, and processing of materials as well as their properties, uses, and performance. These fields of research utilize technologies in metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1975 from the merger of the Department of Ceramics Engineering and the Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

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Conventional fabrication of microfluidic channels/devices are faced with challenges such as single use channels and/or significant time consumption. We propose a flexible platform for fabricating microfluidic channels simply through indentation on a smart composite—the so-called ST3R (Stiffness tuning through thermodynamic relaxation) composite. The application of ST3R composite allows rapid fabrication of microfluidic channels by hand or with a prefabricated stamp, and precise prototyping of complex designs using a 2D plotter. Indenter geometry, applied stress, filler loading, and number of repeated indentations affect channel dimensions and/or shape. These channels further exhibit; i) Substantial improvement against swelling by organic solvent, in part due to the high modulus of the solidified metal network. ii) Channel reconfigurability by heating the solidified undercooled metals. ST3R composite slabs have the potential to serve as microfluidic ‘breadboards’, from which complex channels can be integrated in a flexible manner.


This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see DOI: 10.1021/acs.iecr.8b06441.

Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2019