Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 42, Issue 5, pp 785–797 | Cite as

Computer-aided design of microfluidic resistive network using circuit partition and CFD-based optimization and application in microalgae assessment for marine ecological toxicity

  • Bingxu Han
  • Guoxia ZhengEmail author
  • Junfeng Wei
  • Yusuo Yang
  • Ling Lu
  • Qian Zhang
  • Yunhua WangEmail author
Research Paper


We present an automatic design process for microfluidic dilution network towards marine ecological toxicity assessment on microalgae. Based on the hydraulic–electric circuit analogy, we defined an abstract specification using computer-aided designing system. Several approaches, especially circuit partition, were applied to minimize design effort. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation was exploited to convert the electrics specification to fabrication model. We automatically designed the combinational-mixing-serial dilution microfluidics to generate parallel stepwise gradients for mixing chemicals (binary/ternary/quaternary mixture) using the present algorithm. We critically discussed design rules and evaluated the microfluidic performance by colorimetric analysis. To examine whether these microfluidic chips can be used for toxicity test on microalgae, single and joint toxic effects of heavy metals (copper, mercury, zinc, and cadmium) were examined on line. In all cases, dose-related toxic responses were successfully detected. These results provided a solution for designing resistive network using circuit partition and CFD-based optimization and a route to develop a promising user-friendly alternative for microalgae bioassays as well as cell-based screening experiments in risk assessment.


Microfluidic network Computer-aided designing Circuit partition Microalgae bioassay 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41476085, 81471807), Scientific Research Project of Liaoning Education Department (LJQ2015005) and Dalian Innovation Project for Talents (2015R087).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict to declare.

Supplementary material

449_2019_2082_MOESM1_ESM.doc (11.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 11816 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical and Environmental Engineering InstituteDalian UniversityDalianChina
  2. 2.Medical SchoolDalian UniversityDalianChina
  3. 3.Environmental Micro Total Analysis LabDalian UniversityDalianChina

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