Finger-powered fluidic actuation and mixing via MultiJet 3D printing†
Additive manufacturing, or three-dimensional (3D) printing, has garnered significant interest in recent years towards the fabrication of sub-millimeter scale devices for an ever-widening array of chemical, biological and biomedical applications. Conventional 3D printed fluidic systems, however, still necessitate the use of non-portable, high-powered external off-chip sources of fluidic actuation, such as electro-mechanical pumps and complex pressure-driven controllers, thus limiting their scope towards point-of-need applications. This work proposes entirely 3D printed sources of human-powered fluidic actuation which can be directly incorporated into the design of any 3D printable sub-millifluidic or microfluidic system where electrical power-free operation is desired. Multiple modular, single-fluid finger-powered actuator (FPA) designs were fabricated and experimentally characterized. Furthermore, a new 3D fluidic one-way valve concept employing a dynamic bracing mechanism was developed, demonstrating a high diodicity of ∼1117.4 and significant reduction in back-flow from the state-of-the-art. As a result, fabricated FPA prototypes achieved tailorable experimental fluid flow rates from ∼100 to ∼3000 μL min−1 without the use of electricity. Moreover, a portable human-powered two-fluid pulsatile fluidic mixer, capable of generating fully-mixed fluids in 10 seconds, is presented, demonstrating the application of FPAs towards on-chip integration into more complex 3D printed fluidic networks.