Microfluidic Viscometer Using a Suspending Micromembrane for Measurement of Biosamples

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Original languageEnglish
Article number934
Journal / PublicationMicromachines
Issue number10
Online published14 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020



The viscosity of biofluids such as blood and saliva can reflect an individual’s health conditions, and viscosity measurements are therefore considered in health monitoring and disease diagnosis. However, conventional viscometers can only handle a larger liquid volume beyond the quantity that can be extracted from a person. Though very effective, micro-sensors based on electrokinetic, ultrasonic, or other principles often have strict requirements for the supporting equipment and complicated procedures and signal processing. Sample contamination is always an important issue. In this paper, we report a microfluidic viscometer requiring a small volume of biosamples (<50 µL) and straightforward operation procedures. It is fabricated with low-cost and biocompatible polymeric materials as one-time-use devices, such that contamination is no longer the concern. It contains a suspending micromembrane located along a microchannel. Under a steady driving pressure, the membrane displacement is a function of viscosity of the liquid sample being tested. We derived a simple analytical relation and perform a simulation for converting the membrane displacement to the sample viscosity. We conducted experiments with liquids (water and mineral oil) with defined properties to verify such a relation. We further applied the micro-viscometer to measure bovine blood samples with different hematocrit levels. It can be concluded that the microfluidic viscometer has a high compatibility with a broad range of biomedical applications.

Research Area(s)

  • Microfluidic, Sensor, Viscosity

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