Microfluidic Synthesis of Crimped Fibers
Princeton Docket # 13-2885-1
Researchers at Princeton University have developed a microfluidic approach to synthesize crimped microfibers. Under this new method the entire process is carried out on one small microfluidic chip, permitting ease and a degree of control in tailoring the dimensions and extent of crimp superior to current processes. This method can also be used for the fabrication of other micro-objects and microfibers with other morphological features, such as flat ribbon-like structures.
Using this method, the microfiber is synthesized from a flowing reactive liquid jet that is surrounded by a non-reactive continuous liquid. The crimped morphology of the fiber is caused by a buckling instability of the reacting jet due to an axial compressive stress imposed by microchannel geometry. Features of the transient buckling of the flowing jet are preserved in the morphology of the final solid fiber as the reaction goes to completion. The degree of crimp in the fibers is well controlled and can be varied systematically by adjusting one of any number of system and reaction parameters, including flow rates, UV initiation position, IIV light intensity, and composition of reactive solution in the jet.
It is anticipated that this method will have immediate application in processes where controlling the degree of crimp in microfibers is an important aspect of the manufacture of fiber related products, such as fiber meshes, fiber substrates, filters, and fiber-reinforced composite materials.
· Novel process to Synthesize crimped microfibers
· Controlling the degree of crimp in the manufacture of fiber related products, such as fiber meshes, fiber substrates, filters, and fiber-reinforced composite materials
· Entire process on one small microfluidic chip
· Low cost, simple and easy to control
· Fabrication of a variety of micro-objects and microfibers
Howard Stone is the Donald R. Dixon '69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. His research has been concerned with a variety of fundamental problems in fluid motions dominated by viscosity, so-called low Reynolds number flows, and has frequently featured a combination of theory, computer simulation and modeling, and experiments to provide a quantitative understanding of the flow phenomenon under investigation. Prof. Stone is the recipient of the most prestigious fluid mechanics prize, the Batchelor Prize 2008, for the best research in fluid mechanics in the last ten years. He is also part of the Class of 2011 inductees of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Intellectual Property status
Patent protection is pending.
Princeton is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.
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