Compliant Fluidic Control Structures

Concept and synthesis approach

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The concept and synthesis approach for planar Compliant Fluidic Control Structures (CFCSs), monolithic flexible continua with embedded functional pores, is presented in this manuscript. Such structures are envisioned to find application in biomedicine as tunable microfluidic devices for drug/nutrient delivery. The functional pores enlarge and/or contract upon deformation of the compliant structure in response to external stimuli, facilitating the regulated control of fluid/nutrient/drug transport. A thickness design variable based topology optimization problem is formulated to generate effective designs of these structures. An objective based on hydraulic diameter(s) is conceptualized, and it is extremized using a gradient based optimizer. Both geometrical and material nonlinearities are considered. The nonlinear behaviour of employed hyperelastic material is modeled via the Arruda-Boyce constitutive material model. Large-displacement finite element analysis is performed using the updated Lagrangian formulation in plane-stress setting. The proposed synthesis approach is applied to various CFCSs for a variety of fluidic control functionalities. The optimized designs of various CFCSs with single and/or multiple functional pores are fabricated via a Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) soft lithography process, using a high precision 3D printed mold and their performances are compared with the numerical predictions.