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INFLUS Résumé de rapport

Project ID: 31980
Financé au titre de: FP6-NMP
Pays: Italy

Final Report Summary - INFLUS (Integrated microfluidic bench technologies for active control of unconventional fluid by functionalised material interface of complex geometry microchannels)

Interface control of microchannel-based systems are emerging as a critical design trend in the process and manoeuvring optimisation in several types of micro-devices. The realisation of microstructures in components such as mixers, filters, extractors, reaction chambers of bio and chemical devices, as well as their combination into more complex and versatile systems, leads to major advantages for the applications, such as faster analysis times, parallelisation of assays, combination of different reactions on the chips, as well as to saving cost usually at the same time with getting an improved performance.

However, the effectiveness of these microstructures strictly relies on the capability to reliably control the behaviour of fluids, and to manipulate the position of streams within flows. In particular, interface forces dominate at small dimensions dramatically increasing friction, which induces a critical distribution of the channel-driven flow. Controlling fluids in microchannels by external means is not for many cases effective, especially when dealing with unconventional fluids (like multi-phase or non-Newtonian), where critical conditions are very often required for the initiation of chemical reactions. Among alternative active control techniques promising of breakthroughs in micro devices technology, best candidates are those envisaging appropriate modifications of the interface to positively exploit mobilisation of phenomena, which are known to intervene in some extent even if insufficiently understood and consequently quantified.

The INFLUS project aimed at developing new integrated microfluidic bench technologies, namely a facility of techniques, protocols and devices specifically designed for the flow control of interface interacting fluids within microchannels, enabling the investigation of the effects on the fluid motion due to changes occurring at the functional interface. The main objectives of the project were the design of innovative functionalised interfaces of plastic-based and hybrid microchannels allowing complex flow control and manoeuvring, through relevant improvements of multifunctional materials engineering knowledge exploiting their chemical and physical properties, and by opportune combination with technological substrates.

One of the most important tasks of dissemination activities performed during the reporting period was the construction and exploitation of INFLUS project web portal: This web portal had a twofold target. On one side, it was used to spread publishable information about the project activities to industries, research institution and general public, thus promoting the cross-fertilisation of ideas and means of establishing cooperation. On the other hand, it allowed a fast and efficient exchange of communications, documents and reference material among partners as well as with the European Commission.

The portal was divided into two main areas. The public area is accessible by every visitor, and contains a description of all main topics developed in the project, i.e. chip platforms, surface functionalisation, flow measurements and characterisation, numerical simulations. A dedicated section is also reserved for validation results of the developed techniques. Each of these sections is directly accessible from the home page, and is internally organised in sub-sections providing deeper insight on each topic. The pages are organised into a hierarchy depending on a typical tree structure, and links between the pages make easier the navigation.

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