Abstract

In this paper, we studied a flap valve micro-fluidic pump that relies on an electromagnetic actuation mechanism. The upper wall pump chamber is made of a smart material called magnetorheological elastomer (MRE). Under a magnetic field, the upper wall contracts, and the amount of contraction depends on the intensity of the applied magnetic field, which can be controlled via electromagnets. Moreover, flap valves mounted inside this micropump can convey fluids unidirectionally. A Finite Element Analysis (FEA)/Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)-based approach was embraced for the design of the device due to the coupled electromagnetic-fluid-structural interactions in the device. Simulations were carried out in COMSOL Multiphysics software. The performance characteristics of the pump were presented and discussed. In addition, a parametric study was conducted to see the effects of important design parameters on the net pumped volume, results of which were also presented and discussed. After the simulation studies, a working prototype pump with a 10.22 × 7.67 × 51.11 mm (W × H × L) was 3D printed. The experimental plan for the working prototype was discussed for further studies. The presented study lays the foundation for future studies where the pump size will be reduced to under 1 mm. The proposed micropump could potentially be used in a broad range of applications, such as an insulin dosing system for Type 1 Diabetic patients, artificial organs to transport blood, organ-on-chip applications, and so on.

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