Microfluidics has become an increasingly popular tool in the design and development of medical devices and artificial organs. Two promising applications of microfluidics are dialyzers and oxygenators. As a step toward portable dialysis treatment, continuous microfluidic dialysis may resolve many clinical issues with current dialysis treatments. Additionally, commercially available oxygenators exceed the blood volume of neonatal patients; low-volume microfluidic devices may safely deliver oxygen to these patients. Two critical parameters in the development of these devices is mechanical hemolysis and membrane diffusion, which are intricately connected to the geometry, flow rate, properties of the membrane, and each other. A computational model is developed to elucidate the connection between these phenomena to guide the design and optimization of these devices. In vitro experiments are conducted to validate the model. Importantly, a subset of hemolysis models agrees with experimental data, which is consistent with the literature. Additionally, the effect of microfluidic mixing elements that perturb flow near the membrane interface are studied in silico and in vitro. These data reveal that herringbone mixing elements increase hemolysis by 10% and flux across the membrane interface by 38% in silico and a statistically significant difference between smooth and herringbone devices is observed for a subset of devices tested. Furthermore, 10 of 18 computational models of hemolysis are shown to be statistically similar to experimental data. The agreement of these results suggest that finite element analysis may be able to quantitively model important factors in the design of microfluidic oxygenators and dialyzers.
Mechanical Engineering (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)
Poskus, Matthew D., "Numerical Model to Predict Hemolysis and Transport in a Membrane-Based Microfluidic Device" (2019). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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