Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 683–694 | Cite as

Ferrofluid actuation with varying magnetic fields for micropumping applications

  • Evrim Kurtoğlu
  • Alp Bilgin
  • Muhsincan Şeşen
  • Burç Mısırlıoğlu
  • Mehmet Yıldız
  • Havva Funda Yağcı Acar
  • Ali KoşarEmail author
Research Paper


Magnetic nanoparticle suspensions and their manipulation are becoming an alternative research line. They have vital applications in the field of microfluidics such as microscale flow control in microfluidic circuits, actuation of fluids in microscale, and drug delivery mechanisms. In microscale, it is possible and beneficial to use magnetic fields as actuators of such ferrofluids, where these fluids could move along a dynamic gradient of magnetic field so that a micropump could be generated with this technique. Thus, magnetically actuated ferrofluids could have the potential to be used as an alternative micro pumping system. Magnetic actuation of nanofluids is becoming an emergent field that will open up new possibilities in various fields of engineering. Different families of devices actuating ferrofluids were designed and developed in this study to reveal this potential. A family of these devices actuates discrete plugs, whereas a second family of devices generates continuous flows in tubes of inner diameters ranging from 254 μm to 1.56 mm. The devices were first tested with minitubes to prove the effectiveness of the proposed actuation method. The setups were then adjusted to conduct experiments on microtubes. Promising results were obtained from the experiments. Flow rates up to 120 and 0.135 μl/s were achieved in minitubes and microtubes with modest maximum magnetic field magnitudes of 300 mT for discontinuous and continuous actuation, respectively. The proposed magnetic actuation method was proven to work as intended and is expected to be a strong alternative to the existing micropumping methods such as electromechanical, electrokinetic, and piezoelectric actuation. The results suggest that ferrofluids with magnetic nanoparticles merit more research efforts in micro pumping.


Microfluidics Microchannel Magnetic actuation Ferrofluids Nanofluids Pumps Magnetohydrodynamics 



This work was supported by the Sabancı University Internal Research Grant, no: IACF09-00642 and Turkish Academy of Sciences (TUBA) Young Outstanding Researcher Support Programme (GEBIP). Graduate student support was provided by the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences of Sabancı University and equipment support provided by Sabanci University Nanotechnology Research and Applications Center (SUNUM) is greatly appreciated.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evrim Kurtoğlu
    • 1
  • Alp Bilgin
    • 1
  • Muhsincan Şeşen
    • 1
  • Burç Mısırlıoğlu
    • 2
  • Mehmet Yıldız
    • 2
  • Havva Funda Yağcı Acar
    • 3
  • Ali Koşar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Mechatronics Engineering ProgramSabanci UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Material Science Engineering ProgramSabanci UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Department of ChemistryKoc UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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