A simplified method for measuring the fluidic resistance (Rfluidic) of microfluidic channels is presented, in which the electrical resistance (Relec) of a channel filled with a conductivity standard solution can be measured and directly correlated to Rfluidic using a simple equation. Although a slight correction factor could be applied in this system to improve accuracy, results showed that a standard voltage meter could be used without calibration to determine Rfluidic to within 12% error. Results accurate to within 2% were obtained when a geometric correction factor was applied using these particular channels. When compared to standard flow rate measurements, such as meniscus tracking in outlet tubing, this approach provided a more straightforward alternative and resulted in lower measurement error. The method was validated using 9 different fluidic resistance values (from ~40 to 600 kPa s mm-3) and over 30 separately fabricated microfluidic devices. Furthermore, since the method is analogous to resistance measurements with a voltage meter in electrical circuits, dynamic Rfluidic measurements were possible in more complex microfluidic designs. Microchannel Relecwas shown to dynamically mimic pressure waveforms applied to a membrane in a variable microfluidic resistor. The variable resistor was then used to dynamically control aqueous-in-oil droplet sizes and spacing, providing a unique and convenient control system for droplet-generating devices. This conductivity-based method for fluidic resistance measurement is thus a useful tool for static or real-time characterization of microfluidic systems.
Godwin, Leah A., Kennon S. Deal, Lauren D. Hoepfner, Louis A. Jackson, Christopher J. Easley
Analytica Chimica Acta