Rapid prototyping of magnetic valve based on nanocomposite Co/PDMS membrane

Akanksha Singh*, Laurent Hirsinger, Patrick Delobelle, Chantal Khan-Malek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, a new type of active membrane based on magnetic elastomer composite is manufactured, characterized and integrated into a simple valve. The simple and low-cost fabrication process combined with large displacement capability of the membrane is favorable for use in disposable fluidic devices. Passivated ferromagnetic cobalt nanoparticles (~37 nm) synthesized by the chemical route were embedded in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) to fabricate nano-composite flexible membranes. Magneto-mechanical and mechanical properties of the PDMS composite elastomeric membrane loaded with various concentrations of cobalt (Co) nanoparticles (between 15 and 75 % by weight) were studied. Dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) measurements of the nano-composite membranes were conducted as a function of the applied frequency (between 0.1 and 56 Hz). With higher concentration (50-wt%) of Co nanoparticles in PDMS, the elastic modulus was increased by 3-4 times as compared with that of membranes with lower concentrations of nanoparticles. Shore hardness was maximum for the nano-composite membrane loaded with 50-wt% of Co nanoparticles. A fluidic actuator with 400 μm thick PDMS membrane of 18 mm free diameter loaded with 50-wt% Co nanoparticles was manufactured and tested under external magnetic field. In the region where the magnetic field gradient is highest, high deflection of the membrane could be obtained (0.68 mm for 1 Tesla). However some hysteresis of the membrane deflection could be observed, even at very low frequency. Loading of PDMS with Co nanoparticles allowed a wider range of control of the wetting properties of PDMS surfaces under oxygen plasma treatment, from hydrophobic to hydrophilic to super-hydrophilic. Tunability in hydrophilicity could be achieved by varying the process parameters as verified by contact angles and Fourier transforms infrared (FTIR) spectra before and after plasma treatment. Under certain conditions, 50 % Cobalt-PDMS membrane surfaces exhibited a super-hydrophilic behavior (contact angle ~5).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-436
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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