Quantitative Determination of Glucose Transfer Between Cocurrent Laminar Water Streams in a H-Shaped Microchannel

Michiel van Leeuwen, Xiaonan Li, E.E. Krommenhoek, Johannes G.E. Gardeniers, Marcel Ottens, Luuk A.M. van der Wielen, Joseph J. Heijnen, Walter M. van Gulik

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To explore the applicability of a laminar fluid diffusion interface (LFDI) for the controlled feeding of microbioreactors, glucose diffusion experiments were carried out in a rounded H-shaped microstructure etched in a glass substrate. The diffusion channel of the microstructure had a length of 4 mm and a depth of 50 μm with a trapezoidal cross section with a width of 100 μm at the bottom and 200 μm at the surface of the channel. The microchannel was operated at residence times of less than 1 s ensuring high-mass-transfer rates. It was confirmed, both by microscopic observations as well as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) studies that the flow characteristics in the microchannel were fully laminar. Special attention was paid to flow splitting at the end of the channel, because the CFD simulations indicated that the performance of the device was sensitive to unequal flow splitting. The difference in outflow volume of the two streams was measured to be small (1.25% ± 0.6%). The measured glucose concentration in both exit ports at a fixed residence time was found to be stable in time and reproducible in multiple experiments. CFD simulation was shown to be a powerful tool for estimating the mass transfer in the LFDI, even at very short residence times. The results obtained in this work show the applicability of LFDI for the controlled diffusive supply of a solute to a water stream, with as possible application substrate and/or precursor feeding to microreactors.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)1826-1832
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology progress
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Laminar flow
  • glucose
  • diffusion interface
  • IR-72750
  • METIS-261361
  • Micro-structure
  • Mass transfer

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