We present and characterize cotton yarn and knots as building blocks for making microfluidic circuits from the bottom up. The yarn used is made up of 200–300 fibres, each with a lumen. Liquid applied at the extremity of the yarn spontaneously wets the yarn, and the wetted length increases linearly over time in untreated yarn, but progresses according to a square root relationship as described by Washburn's equation upon plasma activation of the yarn. Knots are proposed for combining, mixing and splitting streams of fluids. Interestingly, the topology of the knot controls the mixing ratio of two inlet streams into two outlet yarns, and thus the ratio can be adjusted by choosing a specific knot. The flow resistance of a knot is shown to depend on the force used to tighten it and the flow resistance rapidly increases for single-stranded knots, but remains low for double-stranded knots. Finally, a serial dilutor is made with a web made of yarns and double-stranded overhand knots. These results suggest that yarn and knots may be used to build low cost microfluidic circuits.
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