Effect of protein adsorption on the radial wicking of blood droplets in paper

Michael J. Hertaeg, Rico F. Tabor, Gil Garnier

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Hypotheses: (1) The equilibrium size and characteristics of a radially wicked fluid on porous material such as paper is expected to be dependent on the fluid properties and therefore could serve as a diagnostic tool. (2) The change in wicked stain size between biological fluids is dependent on a change in solid-liquid surface interfacial energy due to protein adsorption. Experiments: Sessile droplets of increasing volume of blood, its components, and model fluids were deposited onto paper and the equilibrium stain size after coming to a halt was recorded. The contact angle of fluid droplets on model cellulose surfaces was measured to quantify the effect that blood protein adsorption at the solid-liquid interface has on radially wicked equilibrium size. Finally the significance of droplet evaporation for the time scale of interest was analysed. Findings: The final stain area of all fluids tested on paper scales remarkably linearly with droplet volume. Different fluids were compared and the gradient of this linear relation was measured. Model fluids varying in surface tension and viscosity all behave similarly and exhibit a constant gradient. Blood and its components produce smaller stains, demonstrated by lower gradients. The gradient is a function of protein concentration, thus the mechanism of this phenomenon was identified as protein adsorption at the cellulose-liquid interface. The slope of the area/volume relationship for droplets is an important quantitative mechanistic variable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-123
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2018


  • Biodiagnostic
  • Blood
  • Paper
  • Protein
  • Protein adsorption
  • Radial wicking
  • Stain area

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