Thermoplastic polyurethane microcapillary film (TPU-MCF), as a novel extruded product, inherently contains an array of circular micron-sized capillaries embedded inside the polymer matrix. With the aid of simple laser cutting and conventional sealing technologies, a rapid prototyping method for microfluidic devices is proposed based on the ready-made microstructure of MCFs. Two functionalized microfluidic devices: serpentine micromixer and multi-droplet generator, are rapidly fabricated to demonstrate the advantages and potential of employing this new method. The whole proof-of-concept fabrication process can be completed in 8–10 min in a simple way; each procedure is repeatable with stable performance control of microfluidic devices; and the material cost can be as low as $0.01 for each device. The TPU-MCF and this novel method are expected to provide a new perspective and alternative in microfluidic community with particular requirements.
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Financial support was provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51373153) and the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2015CB057301); we also express our attitude to Tao Xie for providing laser cutter and Tiefeng Li for providing VHB tapes.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Xu, Z., Jiang, F., Xu, Z. et al. Novel prototyping method for microfluidic devices based on thermoplastic polyurethane microcapillary film. Microfluid Nanofluid 20, 126 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-016-1784-4
- Microcapillary film
- Prototyping method
- Microfluidic devices
- Droplet generator