Mentor: Dr. Thomas Angelini
College of Engineering
"I am naturally a curious person and just want to gain first-hand insight into nature."
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
- Control Theory
- Dynamical Systems
- Merton T. Hartman Jr. Scholarship 2013-2014
- Hispanic Scholarship Fund Procter & Gamble - Orgullosa Scholarship 2013-2014
- Cunningham Scholarship 2013-2014
- CAM-EAT Engineering Scholarship 2015-2016
- University Scholars Program 2015-2016
Hobbies and Interests
- Ultimate Frisbee
Stabilizing Microfluidic Droplets and Jets in Microgel-based Yield-stress Materials
Microfluidic technologies have great promise for countless applications involving precise, small-scale fluid handling. Microfluidic systems take advantage of miniature scale fluid mechanics to enable faster analysis, superior process control, and enormous parallelization leading to high throughput analysis all while being cost-effective and easier to mass produce when compared to current equipment . Microfluidics also enables rapid gene sequencing, high screening rates of antibiotics and drug resistant mutant bacteria, and combinatorial chemistry. For instance, Microfluidic Sanger Sequencing uses electrophoresis to classify the order of nucleotides in DNA on a single glass wafer 10 cm in diameter . Additionally, by encapsulating bacteria in agarose microparticles flow-focusing microfluidic systems facilitate high throughput cell analysis and isolation. Moreover, microfluidic devices create a platform on which numerous chemical compounds can be rapidly synthesized simultaneously, which is critical for drug discovery. Nevertheless, several obstacles are yet to be resolved. For example, microfluidic droplets are always immiscible with their carrying fluid, and therefore methods guarding against coalescence are needed to ensure stability at the droplet interface. Currently, stabilization is achieved through the use of surfactant molecules, which also affect biocompatibility and molecular exchange between interfaces. As a result, the need to develop optimized surfactants for each new application severely hinders progress in microfluidic technologies. Hence, the development of a technology that stabilizes microfluidic droplets and jets would greatly help to accelerate progress in microfluidic research by eliminating restrictions created by surfactant chemistry. We propose to study the potential of microgel-based yield-stress materials (YSM) in stabilizing microfluidic droplets and jets. The study will be performed with microfluidic devices that will be made from glass micro-capillaries. Microgel-based YSMs are stable against surface tension and completely eliminate diffusion of colloidal scale objects. Thus, droplets of oil in water-based YSM and droplets of water in oil-based YSM will be generated and explored for enhanced stability. Water-based droplets of YSM will also be generated in a carrying phase of water-based YSM, completely eliminating surface tension. Stability of drops and jets in this aqueous-aqueous system will be studied. Video microscopy will be used to characterize droplet and jet diameters as well as temporal stability.