Hands-on Activity: Making Model Microfluidic Devices Using JELL-O
Educational Standards :
Learning Objectives (Return to Contents)
After this activity, students should be able to:
Materials List (Return to Contents)
Each student needs:
Supplies for teacher to make JELL-O Jigglers mix (see instructions in Procedure section):
Introduction/Motivation (Return to Contents)
As we have learned, biomedical engineers are constantly studying the effects of medicine, bacteria, and other microscopic occurrences in the body by performing observations on microfluidic devices. We are now going to make our own "microfluidic devices." While these will be on a much larger scale, the process we shall use is similar to the soft lithography method used by many engineers in developing these devices.
Vocabulary/Definitions (Return to Contents)
Procedure (Return to Contents)
Legacy Cycle Information
This activity covers the Test Your Mettle and Go Public stages of the legacy cycle, during which students create models for testing, and write statements answering questions, including the challenge question that was initially presented in lesson 1 of this unit.
The interdisciplinary field of microfluidics develops miniaturized technologies that are able to manipulate the flow and reaction of tiny amounts of fluids. By doing this, advances in biology and medicine can be made inexpensively because of the reduced amounts of materials and quickened time for testing and analysis. When an entire laboratory's worth of analytical instrumentation is placed on a single "chip," it is sometimes called a "lab-on-a-chip" system.
In this activity, students fabricate their own model microfluidic devices ("chips") using what is essentially a "soft lithography" method. They make molds using plastic straws, tape and shallow foam plates. The liquid form of JELL-O gelatin mix is poured into the molds and cures overnight. Then, once in solid form, the devices are peeled off, flipped over and placed on metal plates to seal—ready for experimentation
With the Students—Day 1
With the Students—Day 2
Assessment (Return to Contents)
Short Answer: Have students write answers to the following questions, including the challenge question, in short answer format.
References (Return to Contents)
Yang, Cheng Wei T. and Eric Ouellet, and Eric T. Lagally (University of British Columbia, Canada). Using Inexpensive Jell-O Chips for Hands-On Microfluidics Education. Published July 1, 2010; published on web May 25, 2010. Feature, Analytical Chemistry, American Chemical Society. Vol. 82, No. 13, pp. 5408-5414. Accessed February 29, 2012. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/ac902926x and supporting information at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/suppl/10.1021/ac902926x/suppl_file/ac902926x_si_001.pdf
ContributorsMichelle Woods (primary author)
Copyright© 2011 by Vanderbilt University
Including copyrighted works from other educational institutions and/or U.S. government agencies; all rights reserved. The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed under National Science Foundation RET grants no. 0338092 and 0742871. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.
Supporting Program (Return to Contents)VU Bioengineering RET Program, School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University
Last Modified: September 18, 2014