3D Printing of Micro- and Macro-fluidic Devices
This chapter describes the application of 3D printing techniques in the production of both micro- and macro-fluidic devices and platforms, including fluid control structures such as mixers, valves, and pumps. Remarkably, the use of 3D printing in the production of microfluidic devices was first reported almost two decades ago. Today, the use of 3D printing to produce microfluidic platforms and devices is rather commonplace, and widely used to produce discrete and integrated fluidic devices, to enhance, downsize, combine or otherwise automate various laboratory experiments, systems and processes. Microfluidic elements such as droplet generators, jet generators, flow splitters and mixers, have been designed and printed to deliver these complex microfluidic functions. 3D printers have also been used to generate passive valves, such as four-port injection valves and active membrane-based valves. Multi-material 3D printing has been used to obtain hermetic seals in pumping assemblies, and elegant ‘Plug-and-Play’ microfluidic assemblies have been described using ‘Lego-type’ 3D-printed components, potentially opening up the availability and practicality of microfluidics to a wider range of users.