The fluid flow and heat transfer performance of thermoplastic microcapillary films

Christian H. Hornung, Bart Hallmark, Robert P. Hesketh, Malcolm R. MacKley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This paper is concerned with the evaluation of microcapillary films (MCFs) for microfluidic applications. MCFs are a novel type of low cost plastic film containing continuous arrays of microcapillaries that are extruded from thermoplastics where the capillaries within these films can be round or elliptical with diameters between 30 and 500 νm. The hydrodynamic response of MCFs has been investigated in a series of experiments where the flow within each capillary was laminar with Reynolds numbers up to a maximum of 1800. Pressure drop measurements were consistent with standard laminar flow predictions. A set of experiments involving single- and two-flow systems were conducted to characterize the heat transfer performance of MCFs and the efficacy of heat transfer was found to rank close to that of metallic microfluidic devices. The experimental heat transfer measurements were compared to finite-element model predictions for the MCF geometry and the modelling results were in good agreement with experiment. The overall results demonstrate the viable performance of MCFs for low cost application to examples such as flow within capillaries where temperature profiling is required along the length of the capillaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)434-447
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Micromechanics and Microengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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