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Fluidic channels in the classroom: Fabrication and integration in fluid mechanics

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Experiential Learning Initiatives

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Megan Miller Montana State University

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Megan is a sophomore in Chemical Engineering at Montana State University. Her research interests include MEMS fabrication, microfluidics, and sputtering of thin film alloys.

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Chung-Hsuan Benjamin Huang Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Montana State University

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Benjamin C.H. Huang received the Master of Science degrees from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2014.

Benjamin Huang is currently Microfluidics Scientist and Lithography Specialist at Montana State University. He is now actively building environment for micro/nano technology on both research and education that is safer, more user-friendly, and more precise.

Benjamin Huang spent three years on conducting microfluidics related research at Harvard University in 2014-2016. As a Research Fellow, his work focused on the studies of microfluidics applications like BioMEMS, droplet-based microfluidics on diseases screening, DNA/RNA analysis and exploration on micro device material. His third year research on microfluidics and microfabrication was further extended and applied to optical biosensing system. This specific work contributes on empowering single cell level real-time protein detection and this research was performed at Harvard Medical School where he was listed as a Research Associate in its Renal division.

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Tariq Akmal Washington State University

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Tariq Akmal is currently the Chair of the Department of Teaching & Learning at Washington State University. He has collaborated with engineering scholars on numerous projects, providing expertise in curriculum and instruction, learning, and K-12 schools.

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Ryan Anderson Montana State University


Phillip Himmer Montanta State University, ECE Dept., Montana Microfabrication Facility

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Phillip Himmer received his B.S. in Physics at Washington State University and M.S. in physics at Montana State University. He obtained his PhD in engineering at Montana State University in the Electrical Engineering department. His PhD research focused on the design and fabrication of micro-optical electromechanical systems for aberration correction in imaging systems. As a postdoctoral researcher at Montana State University he worked with a group to develop focus control for an OCT system. Currently Dr. Himmer is the facility manager at the Montana Mircofabrication Facility and he continues to research novel materials, actuators and optics that may be used in the development of optical systems.

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Micro-Electrical-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) and Nanotechnology engineering education platforms based on thin film engineering have broad applications across all disciplines in science from semiconductor chip fabrication and accelerometers in unmanned aerial vehicles, to in-vivo medical instrumentation. Fabrication of real world thin film devices is an expensive, complex engineering effort that is not extensible to classroom laboratory environments. Having numerous cross disciplinary applications, fluid dynamics lends itself as a good model subject for laboratory demonstration of MEMS; flow visualization makes for an appealing demo, fluid flow scales to the nano regime, and fabrication of a UV epoxy microfluidic channel can be designed in a way that mimics standard MEMS fabrication techniques. UV epoxy has become a standard and relatively inexpensive material used in numerous optical applications and therefore is relatively inexpensive and readily available. Our fabrication technique follows the same general procedures used in MEMS: creation of a mask, photolithography, bonding, etching, and packaging. Fluidic channels are created between two glass slides in a thin layer of UV epoxy, the channels formed by flushing uncured epoxy with solvent. The microfluidic platform developed has been used in a chemical engineering fluid dynamics class for demonstrating various fluid dynamic phenomena, with a specific focus on frictional losses associated with various designs. In combining a fluid dynamic platform using MEMS fabrication techniques, a cross-disciplinary experimental engineering platform has been developed that can be further expanded into a teaching module including optics, surface chemistry, heat flow, as well as electrical phenomena.

Miller, M., & Huang, C. B., & Akmal, T., & Anderson, R., & Himmer, P. (2017, June), Fluidic channels in the classroom: Fabrication and integration in fluid mechanics Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28373

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