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A microfluidic device approach to generate hollow alginate microfibers with controlled wall thickness and inner diameter
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Alginate is a natural polymer with inherent biocompatibility. A simple polydimethylsiloxane
microfluidic device based self-assembled fabrication of alginate hollow microfibers is presented. The inner diameter as well as wall thickness of the microfibers were controlled effortlessly, by altering core and sheath
flow rates in the microfluidic channels. The gelation/cross-linking occured while the solutions were ejected. The microfibers were generated spontaneously, extruding out of the outlet microchannel. It was observed that the outer diameter was independent of the flow rates, while the internal diameter and wall thickness of the hollow fibers were found to be functions of the core and sheath
flow rates. At a constant sheath
flow, with increasing core flow rates, the internal diameters increased and the wall thicknesses decreased. At a fixed core flow, when sheath
flow rate increased, the internal diameters decreased and the wall thickness increased. The immobilization of enzymes in such hollow microfibers can be a potential application as microbioreactors.
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