Micromachines, Vol. 12, Pages 1247: Configurable 3D Printed Microfluidic Multiport Valves with Axial Compression
Micromachines doi: 10.3390/mi12101247
In the last decade, the fabrication of microfluidic chips was revolutionized by 3D printing. It is not only used for rapid prototyping of molds, but also for manufacturing of complex chips and even integrated active parts like pumps and valves, which are essential for many microfluidic applications. The manufacturing of multiport injection valves is of special interest for analytical microfluidic systems, as they can reduce the injection to detection dead volume and thus enhance the resolution and decrease the detection limit. Designs reported so far use radial compression of rotor and stator. However, commercially available nonprinted valves usually feature axial compression, as this allows for adjustable compression and the possibility to integrate additional sealing elements. In this paper, we transfer the axial approach to 3D-printed valves and compare two different printing techniques, as well as six different sealing configurations. The tightness of the system is evaluated with optical examination, weighing, and flow measurements. The developed system shows similar performance to commercial or other 3D-printed valves with no measurable leakage for the static case and leakages below 0.5% in the dynamic case, can be turned automatically with a stepper motor, is easy to scale up, and is transferable to other printing methods and materials without design changes.
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