(334d) Introducing Microfluidics and Chemical Processes in Micro-Devices to Chemical Engineering Undergraduates

Koppula, K. S., Rochester Institute of Technology
Taboada-Serrano, P., Rochester Institute of Technology
Gencoglu, A., Rochester Institute of Technology
Lapizco-Encinas, B., Rochester Institute of Technology

Microfluidics is a new field of study with exciting opportunities for chemical and biomedical engineers. Introducing microfluidics at the undergraduate level can not only ignite the interest of young engineers to the field but also can help introduce fundamental concepts of fluid flow, mass transfer, reaction engineering and separation techniques. The present study focuses on introducing microfluidics experimental modules into chemical engineering undergraduate classes. The fluid flow module focuses on laminar flow within a simple Y shaped channel where the students can observe the flow and calculate the corresponding Reynolds number in order to understand the relationship between flow regime and device and fluid parameters.  The Mass transfer module introduces the concepts of diffusion and mixing within a micro device, and the students are able to calculate the diffusivity based on their observations of the phenomena in the device. Reaction kinetics and the combined effects of diffusion and reaction are discussed in the reaction engineering module, where the students can visually monitor the reaction via changes in coloration of the reactants.  The devices used for the study are made using simplified soft lithography without the need for clean room facilities and complex processing so that the modules can be easily developed and taught in the chemical engineering curriculum.