Moulding of micropatterned nanocellulose films and their application in fluid handling

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Hypothesis: Well-controlled micropatterned nanocellulose films are able to be fabricated via spray coating onto a micropatterned impermeable moulded surface. The micropattern size is able control the directionality of wicking fluid flow. Experiments: Using photolithography and etching techniques, silicon moulds with channel widths of 5–500 µm and depths of 6, 12 and 18 µm were fabricated. Micropatterned nanocellulose sheets were formed by spray coating nanofibre suspensions onto the moulds. We also investigate the effect the dimensions of these micropatterned nanocellulose films have on wicking fluids. Findings: Micropatterns were imparted on the surface of nanocellulose films which resulted in three well-defined regimes of conformation with the moulds: full, partial and no conformation. These regimes were driven by the aspect ratio (channel depth/width) of the moulds. Achieved channel widths and depths were compared to those possible with other micropattern fabrication techniques. The directionality of the wicking water droplets can be controlled with the micropatterned channel. Channels within the full conformation regime resulted in increased directionality of fluid flow compared with those not within this regime. This research demonstrates the industrially scalable process of spray coating has potential to serve as the foundation for a new generation of paper-based microfluidic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-172
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Aspect ratio
  • Deep reactive ion etch
  • Micropattern
  • Moulding
  • Nanocellulose
  • Patterned roughness
  • Photolithography
  • Spray coating
  • Wicking

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