Multimaterial 3D Printed Valve
3D-Printing Functional Microfluidic Components
MIT Media Lab
3D printing enables rapid prototyping of milli and microfluidics, a commonly used technology for controlling and automating chemical and biological reactions. However, 3D printed microfluidics need to move beyond single material constraints. Multimaterial prints that vary in rigidity (from stiff to flexible), transparency (form opaque to clear), and further material properties could enable more complex microfluidic devices. We explored 3D printing multimaterial microfluidics by designing and evaluating a multimaterial 3D printed valve. Valves are the transistors of microfluidics, allowing programmable routing of fluids throughout the device. The 3D printed multimaterial valve is made up of stiff and flexible material. The flexible material deforms when pressure is applied to the control channel, impeding flow in the flow channel. We have demonstrated proportional control of the valve and multichannel valve system. The research paves the way for 3D printing microfluidic systems in which integrated multilateral valves can be used to program complicated fluidic actions. In collaboration with David Kong, MIT Lincoln Laboratory.
Isabella Gariboldi was a key contributor to the project. The project was executed in collaboration with Isabella Gariboldi and David Kong, MIT Lincoln Laboratory.