Alginate fiber production using co-flow at a milli-fluidic t-junction
MetadataShow full item record
In this thesis work, we introduce a new technique for the continuous production of alginate fibers that utilizes just syringe pumps, plastic tubing and a tee tube fitting. Alginate fibres of controlled diameter are produced by adjusting the flowrates of sodium alginate and calcium chloride solutions entering a tee tube fitting. As the two solutions flow through the tubing connected to tee-tube exit, calcium ions crosslink the alginate, thus producing hydrogel fibers that are collected in a calcium chloride bath. Unlike current fiber production methods, our approach features easy device assembly and operation. Our approach also promises continuous operation without device clogging risks common to many current approaches. In this thesis, we report the operating conditions required for uniform alginate fiber production. We show that the alginate-to-calcium chloride solution-flowrate-ratio (R) is the only parameter that determines alginate hydrogel fiber diameter. The observed dependence of fiber diameter on R is explained by the relation between the diameter of a cylinder and its volume. We also report the effect of crosslinking time on fiber quality and use an empirical model of alginate gel strength to explain our observations. We quantify fiber production rate and provide a qualitative explanation of the observed dependence of fiber production rate on R.