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Microchannels in a plastic film

  1. Feb 13, 2015 #1
    Another grad student and I have figured out a way to create micron-sized channels INSIDE a piece of thermoplastic polymer using a laser. Basically it creates a porous channel inside the material (I attached a microscope image). This is a long channel but the inside of it is not empty - it has a highly tortuous structure.

    We've done this using 1mm thick plastic, and also 0.15mm thick film. Question is, is there anything cool I can make out of this? I thought about running a fluid (potentially conductive fluid) through it, making some sort of device. Some sort of display? Strain gage? Solar cell? Something bio?

    Theoretically I should be able to make a void of any shape (not just channels) using this method. Again, these voids are INSIDE the material, not on the surface - it has solid polymer on top and bottom, enclosing it from the environment.

    This is really backwards, normally in engineering you make something that solves a real problem. Instead, I made something for no reason and am trying to find an application. That's the sad part about academic research, but that's where I'm at today ):

    Any ideas highly appreciated. Thanks!

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 19, 2015 #2
    Thanks for the post! This is an automated courtesy bump. Sorry you aren't generating responses at the moment. Do you have any further information, come to any new conclusions or is it possible to reword the post?
  4. Feb 20, 2015 #3


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    Just guessing:
    With larger channels (~100µm) it could be interesting for cooling applications. Or for some chemical reactions that need a large surface but still something more structured than porous materials.
  5. Feb 23, 2015 #4
    This is what I'm looking for, can you be more specific? How would this be applied to "cooling" ? Cooling of what?

    And what chemical reactions would require this, do you have any examples?

  6. Feb 23, 2015 #5


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    The concept is called microchannel cooling, and in principle everything that generates heat can be cooled - electronics, heat from friction, from hot material flowing over a surface, ...

    I don't know, but google finds many applications with the search terms "porous materials chemical reactions".
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