Design and Modeling of Microconduits for Oxygenation and Artificial Respiration


People involved: Alberto Redaelli, Marco Rasponi, Gianfranco B. Fiore

Funding source: Rocca Foundation

Funding period: 2005 - 2008

Partners: Hatsopoulos Microfluids Laboratory of the Massachussets Institute of Technology.

This collaborative project proposal outlines a research program geared towards the design and development of a microfluidic device that can function as an artificial lung. Using microfluidics, we propose to adopt a modular approach to fabricating an artificial respiration system. Using elastomeric microchannels molded in a planar fashion from patterned silicon wafers, capillary-like networks can be designed with highly defined dimensions and specified geometries. Through a novel photocatalytic process occurring at the microchannel walls, oxygen can be formed directly from the water content of the blood.Using computational fluid dynamic (CFD) techniques, a model has been developed to simulate the flow across single and multiple surfaces of varying geometry. Information regarding the photocatalytic process and the shear limitations of red blood cells have been incorporated in the model's boundary conditions. Purpose of this numerical model is the determination of the optimum geometric and mechanical constraints, which will define future scale-up of devices for artificial respiration.