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Multifacted Microfluidics: Three methods to create a microfluidic device

Laminar flow microfluidic device courtesy of Arizona State University
Tools and Technology
Education Level
High School

This module is open-ended to allow for use in a number of classroom settings. The importance here is to permit the teacher to choose the technique provided and tailor the technique to the scientific principle. The students will create their own microfluidic devices and utilize their devices in a manner similar to those used in a laboratory setting. This brings to the chemistry classroom real world applications of current technology.

The lesson provides three different techniques to create microfluidic devices. The methods use safe and simple materials including Jell-O®, Wikki Stix®, Shrinky Dinks®, and a polymer, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). These designs are an example of soft lithography in a less rigorous setting - no cleanroom required. The teacher may choose which “fabrication” method will be used and what concept will be explored with the device.  Students may examine laminar flow, diffusion, mixing, sedimentation etc.  The lesson is flexible enough to present a problem to the students and have them design their own device to test the problem.

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