MSc Thesis Presentation

Characterization of an electroactive polymer for diaphragm micropump in organs-on-chip

Sudiksh Srivastava


The existing drug development process is economically and scientifically challenging. It fails to efficiently emulate human physiology in-vitro with the current pre-clinical studies which includes in-vitro cell culture
models and animal testing. Organ-on-Chip (OoC) technology aims to recreate in-vivo-like micro environment to investigate drug response more effectively. There are ongoing attempts to fabricate OoC technology as a single-platform micro-device to minimize its reliance on external components.
In this perspective, the functionality and throughput of this technology can be improved. One such novel approach is addition of an ionic electroactive polymer (iEAP) actuated diaphragm micropump.

The primary aim of this thesis project was to determine the suitable dimensions of a micro cantilever iEAP, specifically Ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) to generate appropriate flow rate for the projected diaphragm micropump. In addition to that, dynamics of the IPMC cantilever actuator
is examined in dry environment. To achieve this, the actuator tip - force, tip-displacement, and longevity tests were performed. The results at macroscopic scale were attempted to explain with molecular characteristics of the material.

As result, it was shown that IPMC cantilever actuators at small scale possess viscoelastic properties
and standard beam theory cannot be used to validate the experimental
results. Secondly, the actuation results for 0.1 and 1 Hz align with
the input driving frequency. The IPMC cantilever of length 7 mm generates
the maximum tip-force of 0.138 mN and it is suggested to be used as a
diaphragm actuator for the upcoming micropump.

NB: The public presentation can be streamed at the following address: Zoom link

Overview of MSc ME Thesis Presentation