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Undergraduate Research Projects using Microfluidic Devices

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Micro-Technology and Nanotechnology

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1278.1 - 23.1278.17



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Paper Authors


Irina Nicoleta Ciobanescu Husanu Drexel University (Tech.)

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Dr. Ciobanescu Husanu is Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering Technology at Drexel University. She received her PhD degree in mechanical engineering from Drexel University and also a MS degree in aeronautical engineering. Her research interest is in thermo-fluid sciences with applications in micro-combustion, fuel cells, green fuels and plasma assisted combustion. Dr. Husanu has prior industrial experience in aerospace engineering that encompasses both theoretical analysis and experimental investigations such as designing and testing of propulsion systems including design and development of pilot testing facility, mechanical instrumentation, and industrial applications of aircraft engines. Also, in the past 8 years she gained experience in teaching ME and ET courses in both quality control and quality assurance areas as well as in thermal-fluid, energy conversion and mechanical areas from various levels of instruction and addressed to a broad spectrum of students, from freshmen to seniors, from high school graduates to adult learners. She also has extended experience in curriculum development.

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Radian G Belu Drexel University (Tech.)

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Dr. Radian Belu is Assistant Professor within the Engineering Technology (ET) program - Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA. He is holding the second position as Research Assistant Professor at Desert Research Institute – Renewable Energy Center, Reno, Nevada. Before joining to the Drexel University Dr. Belu hold faculty and research positions at universities and research institutes in Romania, Canada and United States. He also worked for several years in industry as a project manager and senior consultant. He has taught and developed undergraduate and graduate courses in electronics, power systems, control and power electronics, electric machines, instrumentation, radar and remote sensing, numerical methods and data analysis, space and atmosphere physics, and physics. His research interests included power system stability, control and protection, renewable energy system analysis, assessment and design, power electronics and electric machines for wind energy conversion, radar and remote sensing, wave and turbulence simulation, measurement and modeling, numerical modeling, electromagnetic compatibility and engineering education. During his career Dr. Belu published several papers in referred journals and in conference proceedings in his areas of the research interests. He has also been PI or co-PI for various research projects United States and abroad in power systems analysis and protection, load and energy demand forecasting and analysis, renewable energy analysis, assessment and design, turbulence and wave propagation, radar and remote sensing, instrumentation, atmosphere physics, electromagnetic compatibility, and engineering education.

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Patrick Lee Kirby Drexel University (Eng.)

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Justin Bryan Gillander

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Undergraduate Research Projects using Microfluidic DevicesIn order for students to enhance their understanding of engineering concepts, hands-onexperience proves essential. Especially when the topic of interest involves heat transfer, fluiddynamics or both, it becomes very difficult for students to obtain a hands-on experience due tothe nature of the experimental apparatus. Incorporating the design component in undergraduateengineering education has been an immediate and pressing concern for educators, professionalsocieties, industrial employers and agencies concerned with national productivity andcompetitiveness. Student-led projects as required components of course curriculum addtremendous value to science and engineering education. The design experience develops thestudents’ lifelong learning skills, self-evaluations, self-discovery, and peer instruction in thedesign’s creation, critique, and justification. The experience, which would be difficult tocomplete individually, gives the students the accomplishment that is often lacking in manyengineering courses, using traditional teaching approaches, motivating student learning anddeveloping the industrial required skills required. Only project work gives them the opportunityto become a problem solver or an innovator. Hence, project work is a very important constituentof our engineering curriculum. Project work provides several opportunities to students to learnseveral aspects of importance to an engineer that cannot be taught in a class or laboratory.However, designing and prototyping real industrial sub-systems or components can become verycostly, and also may require additional laboratory space. Some of these issues can be addressedby the current trend in engineering for miniaturization and micro-scale systems. These systemscan be readily designed and prototyped by students.This paper discusses the development and implementation of two student projects usingmicrofluidic devices, involving a number of junior and senior undergraduate students at ourengineering technology program. The goal of the design projects is to explore and enhancestudents understanding of the fundamental engineering principles, and hands-on demonstrationof system prototyping. Here we report two micro-fluidic projects which explore the principles ofheat transfer as well as mixing phenomena with potentially obtaining a turbulent flow in amicrofluidic device.The first project incorporates a micro-heat exchanger, mimicking a plate and tube heatexchanger, using two micro-pumps for the two flows. Students explored the heat transferphenomena and the temperature dependence over time. The data were acquired and monitoredusing temperature and pressure digital sensors and a LabVIEW VI interface. This project wasused as experimental set-up for further enhancement of laboratory activities for ET coursesrelated to heat transfer, measurement and instrumentation and fluid mechanics.The second project one is a piezo-microfluidic micro-mixing device, with the primary mixerbeing a pump, which will generate adequate mixing in microfluidic channels. The piezoelectriceffect is useful in allowing generation of high frequency resonance, which results in thecontraction and expansion of the piezoelectric material, causing a bending stress in the ceramicmaterial. The bending stress causes turbulence and promotes mixing in the designed chip.

Ciobanescu Husanu, I. N., & Belu, R. G., & Kirby, P. L., & Gillander, J. B. (2013, June), Undergraduate Research Projects using Microfluidic Devices Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22663

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