Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Jing Fan


Aqueous two-phase system, 3D printing, microfluidics, CAD, CAM


Aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) is a technology that allows phase separation in an aqueous environment. This technology can be used for the separation, extraction and purification of a variety of biomolecules and thus gained great attention in industry and academia. This thesis is a combination of ATPS, 3D printing, and microfluidics technologies and realizes the printing of biocompatible aqueous structures in another aqueous matrix. The objectives of this thesis include 1) customizing a regular thermal extrusion 3D printer for printing 3D aqueous structures, 2) printing 3D aqueous structure in an aqueous matrix, and 3) studying the stability of the printed aqueous two-phase system with a complex structure. In order to customize the thermal extrusion 3D printer into a micro-fluid printer, computer aided design (CAD) and computer aided manufacturing (CAM) was used to design and manufacture the customized parts. The CAD software “Solidworks” and Ender-5 Pro 3D printer from Creality were used to design and manufacture the customized parts. The ink phase solution and the matrix phase solution were made from PEO, dextran and water through mixing and centrifuging. The 3D micro-fluid printing system consists of a thermal extrusion 3D printer and a syringe-pump for dispensing the ink phase solution. Time-resolved imaging on the 2D pattern under UV light was used to study the stability of the structure in the matrix. The 3D printing performance of this printing system was tested based on the consistency of the printing results.



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