Microfluidics and Nanofluidics

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 885–894 | Cite as

A high-shear, low Reynolds number microfluidic rheometer

Research Paper


We present a microfluidic rheometer that uses in situ pressure sensors to measure the viscosity of liquids at low Reynolds number. Viscosity is measured in a long, straight channel using a PDMS-based microfluidic device that consists of a channel layer and a sensing membrane integrated with an array of piezoresistive pressure sensors via plasma surface treatment. The micro-pressure sensor is fabricated using conductive particles/PDMS composites. The sensing membrane maps pressure differences at various locations within the channel in order to measure the fluid shear stress in situ at a prescribed shear rate to estimate the fluid viscosity. We find that the device is capable to measure the viscosity of both Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids for shear rates up to 104 s−1 while keeping the Reynolds number well below 1.


Rheometry Microfluidics Low Reynolds number flows High shear rates Non-Newtonian fluids 

Supplementary material

10404_2012_1124_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (357 kb)
PDF (356 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied MechanicsUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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