(4fw) Osmotic-Capillary Principles for Microfluidic Pumping and Fluid Management for Sweat Lactate Sensing Devices | AIChE

(4fw) Osmotic-Capillary Principles for Microfluidic Pumping and Fluid Management for Sweat Lactate Sensing Devices


Saha, T. - Presenter, North Carolina State University
Research Interests: Biochemical Sensors, Sweat Sensors, IoT, Wearable Devices, Point-of-care analysis, Lateral Flow Assays, Clinical Trials.

Teaching Interests: Chemical Reaction Engineering, Transport Phenomena, Colloidal Science, Wearable Sensors, Fundamentals of Chemical Engineering.

Sweat is an essential biofluid for monitoring individuals’ health as it contains several key biomarkers. However, sampling sweat for analysis is still challenging as most of the commercially available sweat sensing devices are either invasive in nature or work only during active perspiration. These devices may not function under low-sweating conditions and may be incapable of sensing in sweat from sedentary subjects. We demonstrate a new principle for the design of flexible and wearable patches, which are capable of extracting sweat under both resting and actively perspiring conditions using osmotic pressure difference for pumping, and evaporation for liquid disposal.1 The patch is composed of silicone, hosting polyacrylamide hydrogel patch, and paper microfluidic conduit with a site of evaporation at the end (evaporation pad). The hydrogel is equilibrated with glycerin, glucose, or NaCl solution to build up the desired osmotic strength to extract fluid from the skin.2 We investigate the performance of the patch using a model biomarker (dye) solution. In-vitro testing with gelatin-based model skin platform revealed that both glucose and glycerin-infused gels facilitate high analyte accumulation on the evaporation pad, with glucose as osmolyte having the highest driving pressure. The cumulative dye collection also depends on the dimensions of the paper channel, hydrogel area and paper pore size. Human trials show the potential to extract sweat and analyze it for lactate under both resting and non-resting conditions within a period of two hours. We use a glucose hydrogel, PBS hydrogel, and a silicone disk as the major pumping sources in the patch and test them under different physiological conditions. On body trials show that all three pumping materials can register lactate on paper for 2 hours. The glucose hydrogel withdraws sweat lactate majorly via osmosis during rest and post-exercise trials. Sampling of lactate via osmosis reduces upon exercising due to inflow of active sweat in the paper channel. The PBS hydrogel and silicone disk patches show traces of lactate on paper as an outcome of the natural sweat release by the body. We also measured blood lactate levels and found no correlation between blood and sweat lactate levels under all physiological conditions. Hence, sweat appears to be a more informative medium than blood for lactate. The ability to measure lactate enables monitoring metabolism and oxidative stress levels in athletes and military personnel. Overall, such simple, non-invasive patches for measuring sweat lactate levels can generate a wide variety of information about human health and contribute towards the advancement of next generation wearable health monitoring devices. Our group is currently investigating how this sweat sampling concept can be integrated in continuously operating wearable devices using enzymatic electrochemical sensors3, and with microneedle patches for long-term interstitial fluid (ISF) sampling.


  1. Shay, T., Saha, T., Dickey, M.D., and Velev, O.D. (2020) Principles of long-term fluids handling in paper-based wearables with capillary–evaporative transport. Biomicrofluidics, 14 (3), 034112.
  2. Saha, T., Fang, J., Mukherjee, S., Dickey, M.D., and Velev, O.D. (2021) Wearable Osmotic-Capillary Patch for Prolonged Sweat Harvesting and Sensing. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 13 (7), 8071–8081.

  3. Yokus, M.A., Saha, T., Fang, J., Dickey, M.D., Velev, O.D., and Daniele, M.A. (2019) Towards Wearable Electrochemical Lactate Sensing using Osmotic-Capillary Microfluidic Pumping. 2019 IEEE SENSORS, 2019-Octob, 1–4.


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