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Title: Towards rapid 3D direct manufacture of biomechanical microstructures
Author: King, Philip Huw
ISNI:       0000 0004 2691 3051
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2009
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The field of stereolithography has developed rapidly over the last 20 years, and commercially available systems currently have sufficient resolution for use in microengineering applications. However, they have not as yet been fully exploited in this field. This thesis investigates the possible microengineering applications of microstereolithography systems, specifically in the areas of active microfluidic devices and microneedles. The fields of micropumps and microvalves, stereolithography and microneedles are reviewed, and a variety of test builds were fabricated using the EnvisionTEC Perfactory Mini Multi-Lens stereolithography system in order to define its capabilities. A number of microneedle geometries were considered. This number was narrowed down using finite element modelling, before another simulation was used to optimise these structures. 9 × 9 arrays of 400 μm tall, 300 μm base diameter microneedles were subjected to mechanical testing. Per needle failure forces of 0.263 and 0.243 N were recorded for the selected geometries, stepped cone and inverted trumpet. The 90 μm needle tips were subjected to between 30 and 32 MPa of pressure at their failure point - more than 10 times the required pressure to puncture average human skin. A range of monolithic micropumps were produced with integrated 4 mm diameter single-layer 70 μm-thick membranes used as the basis for a reciprocating displacement operating principle. The membranes were tested using an oscillating pneumatic actuation, and were found reliable (>1,000,000 cycles) up to 2.0 PSIG. Pneumatic single-membrane nozzle/diffuser rectified devices produced flow rates of up to 1,000 μl/min with backpressures of up to 375 Pa. Another device rectified using active membrane valves was found to self-prime, and produced backpressures of up to 4.9 kPa. These devices and structures show great promise for inclusion in complex, fully integrated and active microfluidic systems fabricated using microstereolithography alone, with implications for both cost of manufacture and lead time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TS Manufactures