Biomedical and General Engineering Department

Degree Name

BS in Biomedical Engineering




David Clague


Microfluidic devices are diagnostic tools that are small, portable, and inexpensive. This makes them ideally suited for resource-limited settings. To construct a 3D device, each layer of patterned paper is stacked using double-sided tape with holes corresponding to the pattern. It is necessary to have a paste to fill the holes in the tape and provide a medium for the fluid to wick through. The powder used to make the paste is very expensive and must be bought in bulk (an estimated $1121 - $1231), so it is not convenient for the Biomedical (BMED) department to use. This project was designed to develop nitrocellulose membrane paste to be used in microfluidic devices inexpensively. Nitrocellulose lacquer samples were made using a range of viscosities: 2, 5, 8, and 11 mL of acetone per gram of nitrocellulose membrane paper. Then a 3D microfluidic device using the sample was created. An inexpensive method for creating paste to fill the holes in the tape layer was determined and proven successful ($170). It was found that the ratio of 11 mL of acetone per gram of nitrocellulose membrane paper created a paste that would allow for the fastest wick time in 3D paper-based microfluidic device (15 min). Thus, this method is recommended to the BMED department for the development and testing of 3D microfluidic devices.