Educational workshop on microfluidic principles using shrinky dinks

Document Type


Conference Title

Pacific Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference


University of the Pacific


Stockton, CA

Date of Presentation



Microfluidics is a field within bioengineering that focuses on the handling and analyzing of fluids in structures of the micrometer scale. Microfluidics is used in medical tests, molecular biology, and chemical analysis. While typical fabrication techniques for microfluidic devices involve photolithography—a process in which a pattern is etched onto a substrate through chemical treatment and exposure to UV light— Khine lab developed a method for creating microfluidic molds from Shrinky Dinks. Shrinky Dinks are polystyrene thermoplastic sheets that are advertised as an arts-and-crafts toy. Shrinky Dinks allow for rapid prototyping and creation of microfluidic devices that are less expensive than those made through photolithography. We developed an Expanding Your Horizons workshop to educate female high school students on microfluidic device fabrication using Shrinky Dinks. In the three-station workshop, the girls learned about creating microfluidic molds using Shrinky Dinks, molding devices using soft lithography, using chemical properties to create bonds, and the physics of flowing fluids at the micro-scale. Demonstrations using a Y-channel illustrated the concept of laminar flow and mixing in microfluidics, while experiments using a plasma bonder illustrated how surface properties of materials can be chemically modified. This is the second iteration of this workshop, and the changes made—including plasma bonding demonstrations and additional examples of laminar flow—were well received by the students.

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