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Nature-inspired micro-fluidic manipulation using artificial cilia

Final Report Summary - ARTIC (Nature-inspired micro-fluidic manipulation using artificial cilia)

The ARTIC project has developed magnetically actuated artificial cilia, inspired by biology, and proven that they can generate substantial fluid in micro-channels. Typical average net velocities are larger than 100 m/s, and typical flow rates are 20 L/min. These values are comparable to other micro-fluidic principles such as electro-osmosis, but our approach has the advantages of simple actuation and compatibility with bio-fluids; next to pumping, the artificial cilia can also be used for fluid mixing. Altogether, the technology enables the active control of microscopic quantities of fluid in lab-on-chip biosensor applications, thereby creating the opportunity to conduct fast and efficient complex analyses, such as DNA profiling or pathogen identification, at a patient's bedside or in a doctor's surgery.

We have developed new advanced numerical models to simulate interactions between magnetically actuated mechanical structures and fluid flow, including behaviour of complex fluids.

These models have been applied to carry out simulations that show that fluid can be propelled with artificial cilia consisting of polymer films with dispersed PM or SPM particles that generate an asymmetric motion. In addition, it was shown that fluid inertia, metachrony, and complex fluid behaviour can enhance the fluid flow.

We have obtained more insight into processes at work in fluid manipulation by natural cilia, both by modelling and by experiments.

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