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A Model of Electric Field Assisted Capillarity for the Fabrication of Hollow Microstructures

C. Tonry1 M. K. Patel1 C. Bailey1 M. P.Y. Desmuliez2 W. Yu3
1Computational Mechanics and Reliability Group (CMRG), School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, University of Greenwich, London, United Kingdom
2Microsystems Engineering Centre (MISCEC, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences, Heriot Watt University, Earl Mountbatten Building, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
3State Key Laboratory of Applied Optics, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun, Jilin, China

Evolution of the surface of a microstructure

Electric Field Assisted Capillarity (EFAC) is a novel technique for the fabrication of hollow polymer microstructures. It has advantages over current methods as it is a single step process. Hollow microstructures have many uses in industry from microchannels and microcapsules in BioMEMS to fibre-optical waveguides. It makes use of the dielectric properties of polymers combined with a heavily wetted surface to produce fully enclosed microstructures. A model has been developed in COMSOL 4.2 to look at the complex interactions of the forces involved. The model is a fully coupled model combining both the electrostatics and phase-field modules within COMSOL. Results from the simulations agree with the experimental data available and have suggested several further avenues for experimental study.

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