Dynamic air/liquid pockets for guiding microscale flow
Tesler, Alexander B.
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CitationHou, Xu, Jianyu Li, Alexander B. Tesler, Yuxing Yao, Miao Wang, Lingli Min, Zhizhi Sheng, and Joanna Aizenberg. 2018. “Dynamic air/liquid pockets for guiding microscale flow.” Nature Communications 9 (1): 733. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-03194-z. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-03194-z.
AbstractMicroscale flows of fluids are mainly guided either by solid matrices or by liquid–liquid interfaces. However, the solid matrices are plagued with persistent fouling problems, while liquid–liquid interfaces are limited to low-pressure applications. Here we report a dynamic liquid/solid/gas material containing both air and liquid pockets, which are formed by partially infiltrating a porous matrix with a functional liquid. Using detailed theoretical and experimental data, we show that the distribution of the air- and liquid-filled pores is responsive to pressure and enables the formation and instantaneous recovery of stable liquid–liquid interfaces that sustain a wide range of pressures and prevent channel contamination. This adaptive design is demonstrated for polymeric materials and extended to metal-based systems that can achieve unmatched mechanical and thermal stability. Our platform with its unique adaptive pressure and antifouling capabilities may offer potential solutions to flow control in microfluidics, medical devices, microscale synthesis, and biological assays.
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