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Micromachines (Basel). 2018 Jun 17;9(6). pii: E303. doi: 10.3390/mi9060303.

Formation of Branched and Chained Alginate Microfibers Using Theta-Glass Capillaries.

Author information

1
Center for International Research on Integrative Biomedical Systems (CIBiS), Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan. nishim@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp.
2
Center for International Research on Integrative Biomedical Systems (CIBiS), Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan. y-morimo@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp.
3
Center for International Research on Integrative Biomedical Systems (CIBiS), Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan. mori1985@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp.
4
Center for International Research on Integrative Biomedical Systems (CIBiS), Institute of Industrial Science (IIS), The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan. takeuchi@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp.
5
International Research Center for Neurointelligence (WPI-IRCN), The University of Tokyo Institutes for Advanced Study (UTIAS), The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan. takeuchi@iis.u-tokyo.ac.jp.

Abstract

This study proposes a microfluidic spinning method to form alginate microfibers with branched and chained structures by controlling two streams of a sodium alginate solution extruded from a theta-glass capillary (a double-compartmented glass capillary). The two streams have three flow regimes: (i) a combined flow regime (single-threaded stream), (ii) a separated flow regime (double-threaded stream), and (iii) a chained flow regime (stream of repeating single- and double-threaded streams). The flow rate of the sodium alginate solution and the tip diameter of the theta-glass capillary are the two parameters which decide the flow regime. By controlling the two parameters, we form branched (a Y-shaped structure composed of thick parent fiber and permanently divided two thin fibers) and chained (a repeating structure of single- and double-threaded fibers with constant frequency) alginate microfibers with various dimensions. Furthermore, we demonstrate the applicability of the alginate microfibers as sacrificial templates for the formation of chain-shaped microchannels with two inlets. Such microchannels could mimic the structure of blood vessels and are applicable for the research fields of fluidics including hemodynamics.

KEYWORDS:

alginate hydrogel; microfiber spinning; microfluidics

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