Microfluidic principles used in Fluidicam provide fast, precise and high shear rate viscosity measurements. The instrument works as a flow comparator. The measurement is based on a comparison of the flow between a sample and a reference solution.
Two fluids pushed together through a microfluidic Y-shaped chip flow laminarly. The interface between the sample and a reference solution can be observed. A high-resolution camera detects the contrast difference (or surface tension difference) between the sample and the reference fluid, identifying the position of the interface.
Depending on the sample viscosity, flow rates, and chip dimensions, the volume occupied by each fluid changes. Thus, the measurements are based on a simple relation between flow rates (adjusted by the software), the viscosity of the reference (known), and the position of the interface, which is observed by the camera.
Small flow cell dimensions contribute to the high confinement of the flowing fluid. Thus, only a small sample volume is required to determine the viscosity and high shear rates are easily accessible.
Constantly flowing side by side of the reference fluid, the technology does not require calibration and thus, measuring multiple samples one after another is a lot more time-efficient.