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Biomicrofluidics. 2019 Jan 8;13(1):014104. doi: 10.1063/1.5063425. eCollection 2019 Jan.

3D printed microfluidic viscometer based on the co-flowing stream.

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School of Mechanical Engineering, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, South Korea.
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School of Dentistry, Pusan National University, Busan 49241, South Korea.


Considering the role of viscosity in the dynamics of physical, chemical, and biological systems, accurate measurement of viscosity is essential. Although many conventional viscometers have been widely used, these conventional viscometers suffer from some drawbacks. In this study, a three-dimensional (3D) printed microfluidic viscometer was proposed based on the estimation of the pressure between two fluids to easily measure viscosity with small samples. The 3D printed microfluidic viscometer can be fabricated through amine-epoxy bonding on 3D printed blocks. By separately delivering samples and reference fluids into two inlets, an interfacial line could be induced. Based on the relation between the pressure ratio and the width of the reference flow, the viscosity (μ) of the sample can be estimated by measuring the relative width of the reference flow. The relation between the pressure and interfacial width between test samples and reference flows in the 3D printed microfluidic viscometers was analyzed by experiment and simulation to determine the effects of the mesh-like pattern of the 3D printed viscometers on the pressure estimation. To validate the proposed method, the viscosity values of glycerol mixtures measured by the 3D printed viscometer were compared with those measured by a conventional viscometer. As an application of the 3D printed viscometer, the viscosity curves for blood samples collected from diabetic and non-diabetic patients depending on their shear rates were compared. As expected, a high blood viscosity in the diabetic group was observed. Based on the experimental demonstrations, the 3D printed viscometer has strong potential to develop portable viscometers that can be translated to commercial outcomes.

[Available on 2020-01-08]

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