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Flow rheology by microfluidics

Shear rheology on chip

Viscosity is a fundamental property that relates to the fluid behavior at flow. It is essential to know the viscosity of the fluid at related shear rates, in order to control product flow during actual application (spraying, injecting, printing or simply high-speed flowing). FLUIDICAM combines optical acquisition with microfluidic principles to measure the shear viscosity of products with various consistency (from liquids and gels to semi-solid emulsions). Analyzing low viscosity samples such as solvents, water-like formulations or vaccines will require a high sensitivity of the measurement, the technology offers valuable data with high accuracy and in a short amount of time.

Key benefits

  • High precision
  • High shear rates
  • Small sample volume

Microfluidics by optical imaging

A sample and a viscosity standard are pushed simultaneously through a «Y-shaped» microfluidic chip at controlled flow rates. Images of the resulting co-flow are acquired and the position of the interface is measured.

The interface position is related to the viscosity and the flow rate ratios between the sample and the reference. Using a known fluid as a reference solution allows to easily determine the viscosity of the sample at the applied shear rate.

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Data and key features

> High shear rates

The small channel dimensions and high pressures applied by the syringe pumps, allow FLUIDICAM to easily reach high flow rates. The shear rate applied is related to channel depth thus, adapting the chip size offers the access to  a wide shear rate range. .

  • 150µm chip offers shear rates range from 102 - 104 s-1
  • 50µm chip offers shear rates range from 103 - 105 s-1

> Microfluidic principle

Using microfluidic principles for viscosity measurement offers high accuracy. Analysis of water-like fluids and dilute solutions is a simple task, even at high shear rates, since the laminar flow is always maintained. A sensor-free microfluidic chip enables practical handling and cleaning, and so make the technology suitable even for complicated applications (inks, solvents, gels...).

> Visual control

Thanks to an optical detection system it is possible to control the measurement quality by monitoring the inside of the channel at any time, before, during and after the experiment.

Data treatment allows to visualize the resulting images and any aberrant image to be excluded, this makes the measurement even more reliable.

> Practical formulation screening

In a couple of minutes, FLUIDICAM plots shear viscosity with minimal volume requirements. Multiple replicates can be made with no user intervention or resampling. Also, no additional manipulation is required when changing from one sample to another. This allows fast and simple viscosity screening of multiple formulations or fast characterization of viscosity at different temperatures.

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