Free Suspended Thin-Walled Nickel Electroplated Tubes for Microfluidic Density and Mass Flow Sensors

Mahdieh Yariesbouei*, Remco G.P. Sanders, Taghi Moazzenzade, Remco J. Wiegerink, Joost Conrad Lötters

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, a novel fabrication method is proposed for microfluidic tubes with a large diameter, circular cross-section, and thin wall. These properties make the tubes
especially suitable for density sensors and Coriolis mass flow sensors, because of the resulting low tube mass, low-pressure drop, and low pressure-dependence of the tube shape. A demonstrator sensor was fabricated and the first measurement results of fluid density and mass flow are presented. The low-cost fabrication method is based on electroplating technology and results in tubes with a near-perfect circular cross-section. Diameters ranging from 120 µm to 1 mm and wall thicknesses from 8 µm to 60 µm
have been achieved. For the demonstrator sensor presented in this paper a freely suspended tube was realized with a total length of 37 mm, a diameter of 600 µm, and a wall
thickness of 20 µm. Density measurements were performed using various gases, liquids, and liquid mixtures at 21◦C to 23◦C lab temperature. The accuracy of the measured densities of gases such as nitrogen, argon, and helium is 5%. For liquids including DI water, isopropyl alcohol (IPA), and their various mixtures an accuracy of 0.5% was obtained. Preliminary mass flow rate measurements were performed with water and isopropyl alcohol up to 30 g/h with less than 30 mbar pressure drop thanks to the large tube diameter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-414
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of microelectromechanical systems
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Cylindrical tube
  • Density sensor
  • Nickel electroplated tube
  • Mass flow sensor
  • 22/1 OA procedure


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