Presenters: Garrett Hawkins, College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering
Authors: Garrett Hawkins, Hunter Hinnen, Derek Sanchez, Adam Woolley, Greg Nordin, Troy Munro
Faculty Advisors: Troy Munro, College of Engineering, Mechanical Engineering; Greg Nordin, College of Engineering, Electrical Engineering
Institution: Brigham Young University
Despite advances in manufacturing microfluidic devices, challenges remain, such as creating devices without highly specialized clean room and lithography equipment, quickly iterating to refine a design, and creating an even heat distribution. Advances in 3D printing have led to high resolution printers capable of using bio-compatible materials and achieving resolutions near 20µm. Using 3D printing as opposed to traditional microfluidic manufacturing methods of lithography and etching or polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) molding helps to solve many of the previously mentioned problems. We present the benefits 3D printing provides to the microfluidic design process, including allowing for rapid and inexpensive design iteration, making new material available, and avoiding the need for lithography and etching equipment and training. We also present ways 3D printed microfluidic chips can modify existing heater geometry designs to improve heat distribution, as well as introduce new heater geometries that are made possible by 3D printing. Options of resistive fluids to fill heating channels with are also presented. These advances will allow microfluidic devices to be lower cost, increasingly effective, and more easily designed, increasing accessibility and applicability of microfluidics.