Microscale fluid dynamics has played a significant role in the development of many applications in the medical diagnostic sector and in recent years many devices have implemented advances in this field. Capillary driven assays are commonly used in diagnostic areas, such as, cardiac risk, fertility, drug abuse and infectious diseases1. Typically a platform is used where bodily fluids or samples are taken, filtered and by means of small microchannels, transported and mixed with a variety of antibodies2. In order to perform correctly, these antibodies need to bind to the proteins in the fluid. It is therefore essential that the exposure of the proteins to the antibodies is maximized. To achieve this, capillary dimensions can be altered to obtain the required flow rates and exposure times3. This paper focuses on controlling these parameters.
In this paper, a study was conducted in which the flows in four straight rectangular microchannels of varying cross sectional areas were assessed. The four microchannels were fabricated from an epoxy material. The microchannel widths varied from 100μm to 1000μm with each channel having a dept of 200μm. The four microchannels had aspect ratios of 0.5, 1, 2 and 10. The microchannels were sealed using a heat sealing hydrophilic tape. Fluid velocity rates were measured experimentally using an X-Stream XS-4 high speed camera at 500 frames per second. Preliminary contact angle results between water and the epoxy material gave a contact angle of 81.5 degrees +/− 6 degrees. Computational models of the four microchannels were performed using a Volume Of Fluid (VOF) model in Fluent 6.2.16, a commercially available CFD code. The computational models had four boundary types: pressure inlet, pressure outlet, epoxy wall and hydrophilic tape wall. The inlet boundary has an initial pressure applied to it, capillary pressure between the water and air interface in the microchannel. It was found that as the dimensions of the microchannels increased, the governing equations were less accurate in predicting the experimental fluid velocity in the microchannels.