University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
RheoChip - Design of a rheometer-on-a-chip for the development of blood analogue solutions
The major goal of this project is to design a microfluidic based rheometer-on-a-chip with no moving parts for the rheological characterization of complex biofluids with low viscosity and/or low elasticity such as blood, synovial fluid and saliva under extensional flow. The performance of the rheometer hinges on a correct design of the microfluidic channel geometry to obtain a flow with the required characteristics – exhibiting a uniform extension rate and providing a sufficiently high strain rate that can be maintained for as long as necessary. To achieve this goal, we combine experimental measurements with numerical computations to propose, test and improve various chip designs for rheological measurements.
To demonstrate the usefulness of the rheometer in a practical context, we will use it to develop and test blood analogue solutions (BA). The development of reliable BA is of extreme importance for in vitro experiments, since the manipulation of whole blood is difficult, expensive, and may present safety issues. BA are polymer solutions that aim to mimic the behaviour of whole blood in flows with mixed extensional and shear components, but are usually developed based on shear-flow studies alone. It has been shown recently that well established BA are not able to even qualitatively describe the extensional behaviour of real blood in realistic microcirculation. As such, the development of new BA will benefit significantly from the availability of a microfluidic extensional rheometer. For assessing the performance of the BA, measurements of real blood flow in mixed shear and extensional flows will be carried out.
FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia), COMPETE and FEDER
WG1: Integrated Microfluidic Photonics