Purdue University Graduate School
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posted on 2022-12-20, 16:22 authored by Zijian HeZijian He


High-resolution enclosed channels/fibers are highly demanded by different disciplines such as microfluidic channels for chemical synthesis, bioreactors for drug metabolism, magnetic locomotor for drug delivery, and wearable devices for motion detection. However, the current fabrication techniques for enclosed channels/fibers are restricted to a few millimeters in size. Their manufacturing often involves time and energy-consuming multi-step processes with insufficient resolution. In this work, we demonstrate a novel co-flow-enabled fabrication method to resolve the technological restrictions in the fabrication of high-resolution enclosed channels/fibers with efficient production time, controllable morphologies, and high throughput manner.

An epoxy-based enclosed microfluidic channel was first built. A non-reactive paraffin oil and a liquid resin were pumped into a 3D-printed co-flow generator and worked as core and shell fluids, respectively. The epoxy resin was cured by external heat stimulus. As a result, the reaction region was limited between the generator wall surface and the boundary of core flow, eliminating the need for precise control over the curing system. The experiment was successfully conducted to cure build resin channel inside copper and resin tubes with good shell thickness.

Conductive hollow hydrogel microfibers were also fabricated by this method. Sodium Alginate and Calcium Chloride were chosen as the shell and core flows, respectively. The ionic crosslinking happens at the boundary of two flows and expands outwards across the radial direction. Thus, the diameter of the hollow channel can be easily adjusted by tuning the flow rate and the size of the core flow injection needle. PEDOT: PSS, a conductive polymer, was mixed with Sodium Alginate to impart fibers with excellent electrical conductivity. The synthesized hollow microfibers have shown their functionality in stretching movement detection by serving as a fundamental building element of motion sensors. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tian Li

Additional Committee Member 2

Arezoo M. Ardekani

Additional Committee Member 3

Yan Gu