Microfluidics at High Pressures: Understanding, Sensing, and Control

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Polhemsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Andersson, Martin
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Mikrosystemteknik
  • Kontaktperson: Andersson, Martin
  • Disputation

This thesis explores understanding, sensing, and control in high-pressure microfluidics. The high-pressure regime allows fluids to be forced through narrow channels at substantial speed and creates conditions for fluids of high density and low viscosity—features desired in flow-based chemical analyses.

With changes to pressure and temperature, fluid properties vary, and for miniaturized flow systems, sensing and control are needed.

For miniaturized chemical analytics to utilize high-pressure fluids, like supercritical CO2, sensors are required for flow characterization. In this thesis, high-pressure tolerant sensors in glass chips have been developed and investigated. By the use of chip-integrated temperature, flow, and relative permittivity sensors, the variable behavior of supercritical CO2 or binary component CO2-alcohol mixtures have been investigated. To be able to change flow rates, a heat-based actuator chip has been developed. By a flow control system, which combines a relative permittivity sensor and heat actuated flow regulators on a modular system, the composition of binary component CO2-alcohol mixtures can be tuned and controlled with feedback.

Flows of multiphase CO2-H2O hold promise for miniaturized extraction systems. In this thesis, parallel multiphase CO2-H2O flow has been studied. To achieve control, methods have been investigated where channels have been modified by the introduction of a guiding ridge and altered by a chemical coating. Flow is a dynamic process, where pressure and temperature can vary with time and place. As the properties of fluids containing CO2 may change with pressure and temperature, properties will also change with time and place. Because of this, instruments with spatial and temporal resolution are needed to better understand dynamic chemical effects at flow. In this thesis, a tool is presented to study the dynamic acidification of aqueous solutions that come in contact with flowing CO2.

By a study performed to understand the strength and pressure tolerance of glass chips, it has been found that the fracture is not only determined by the applied pressure, but also on time and environment.