Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 24-4 - 24

mechanism was built-in to control the pump speed and sense
the analog threshold voltage values across the microchannel
and electrodes. For the device miniaturization, the microelectronic
circuit along with the motherboard were assembled in
a point-of-care platform. Finally, the microcontroller was employed
to measure the time taken by the test fluid to cover a
fixed length in the microchannel, and the viscosity was calculated
by comparing the timing and viscosity values with that
of the reference fluid.
Development of the Microviscometer
Materials and Instrumentation
A dual-extruder FDM 3DP (Creator Pro, Flash Forge, USA), capable
of dispensing two filaments of diameter 1.75 mm on a
single prototype, has been utilized. Commonly used polylactic
acid (PLA) filament was used to fabricate the microchannels,
and copper composite filament (Multi3D, USA, resistance of
0.06 Ω.cm) was used to create integrated electrodes on the inner
walls of microchannel. Peristaltic pumps were fabricated
in-house implementing 3DP using stepper motors (28 BYJ48),
which were controlled by motor drivers (ULN2003) and
microcontroller (AtMega-8-40 Pin IC). Research grade bovine
serum albumin (BSA), human serum albumin (HSA) and lysozyme
(SRL, India) were used as prepared biological samples.
The viscosity values, measured from the Electro-Microfluidic
Viscometer (EMV), were compared with the tabletop rotational
viscometer (LMDV-60 from Labman, India).
Device Fabrication and Experimentation
The mathematical modelling of this approach has been experimentally
proven and discussed in detail in our previous
work [13]. The final viscosity equation was simplified using
the Hagen-Poiseuille equation, from which it was proven that
the viscosity was directly proportional to the time taken by
the fluid to cover a fixed
length.
Microchannels were
fabricated using PLA filament
at 220 °C, whereas
the embedded electrodes
were printed using the copper
composite filament at
160 °C. The dimensions
of the microchannel were
2 mm × 2 mm × 60 mm
while the dimensions of
the embedded electrodes
were 2 mm × 5 mm. The
schematic of the approach
and 3DP microfluidic device
are shown in Fig. 1a
and Fig. 1b, respectively.
On one side of the microchannel,
four electrodes
were fabricated to measure
24
Fig. 1. (a) Schematic of the 3DP EMV with sub-systems; (b) 3DP microchannel
embedded with conductive copper electrodes.
three time-gaps, and a common electrode was deposited on
the other side of the microchannel and was connected to the
positive terminal of the power supply. These electrodes were
designed with a small hole (1 mm diameter and 4 mm length),
so that the electrical contact can be easily established. The
working of the device is explained in detail in the flow chart
shown in Fig. 2, which illustrates how the timing of the fluid
flow in the microchannel is measured and how the pumping
operation is carried out in an automated manner.
To establish the complete motherboard on a single PCB,
a schematic of the PCB was designed using Proteus (Fig. 3a).
For the buttons and motor driver IC, another PCB was designed
as shown in Fig. 3b. The motherboard was designed for
Fig. 2. Flow chart of the device working.
IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine
June 2021

Instrumentation & Measurement Magazine 24-4

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