Educational workshop on microfluidic principles using shrinky dinks
Pacific Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference
University of the Pacific
Date of Presentation
Microfluidics is an emerging field of science and engineering that involves the study and manipulation of fluids on a very small, submillimeter, scale. 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. Photolithography, however, requires clean room facilities and handling of harsh chemicals. In 2008, Khine and coworkers developed a method of creating microfluidic molds from Shrinky Dinks, a polystyrene thermoplastic that is marketed as an arts and crafts toy. Shrinky Dink allows for rapid prototyping and creation of microfluidic devices that are far less expensive than if made through photolithography. We developed an educational workshop for high school students on making microfluidic devices using Shrinky Dinks. The workshop consisted of three lessons: creation of Shrinky Dink molds, molding devices using soft lithography, and understanding the fluid flow at micro-scale. The workshop was taught at last year’s Expanding Your Horizon conference and featured a ychannel design to illustrate the concept of laminar flow and mixing in microfluidics. Further research and practice has led to the next iteration of Shrinky Dink molded devices: gradient generators. In the educational workshop, the gradient generator will be used to produce a color gradient. However, gradient generators have broad applications in biology such as chemotaxis studies and cell response to drug concentration.
Educational workshop on microfluidic principles using shrinky dinks.
Paper presented at Pacific Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference in Stockton, CA.