Microfluidics for assessing the behaviour of deformable biological objects

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Biological fluids, composed of polymeric solutions or suspensions of deformable particles, commonly present complex rheological behaviour. It is well known that particle-fluid interactions at the microscale dictate the macroscopic flow behaviour of these fluids, however the exact link in numerous situations is still missing. Recently, microfluidic techniques have been widely employed to study the dynamics of microscopic particles under flow.Even though such techniques present a range of advantages, including the precise control of the flow conditions, as well as the consumption of a small amount of sample, the design of the microfluidic geometries still mostly relies on a trial-and-error approach. In this thesis, we experimentally test a set of microfluidic geometries, the design of which was previously optimised based on theoretical considerations or by means of numerical simulations in order to achieve specific flow conditions.In addition, we have used complex observation techniques to study the dynamics of solutions and suspensions under flow, identifying microscopic dynamics as well as the major limitations of the microfluidic devices. Biological fluids such as solutions of DNA molecules and red blood cells suspensions were investigated in shear-dominated and extension-dominated flows and the performance of the optimised flow geometries for the study of such biological fluids was demonstrated.
Date of Award1 Feb 2018
LanguageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorMonica Oliveira (Supervisor) & Matthew Stickland (Supervisor)

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