Figure 1. MCM (big voidage)
4X, t = 1.306 mm, Ttop & bott = 116 oC, ΔT = 5 min
Two members of the Polymer Fluids Group, Dora Medina and Bart Hallmark, have produced an unusual and artistic plastic Microcapillary Monolith. The optical micrograph shows a section of the new high voidage material.
Microcapillary Monoliths (MCMs) are solid polymer blocks with two-dimensional arrays of microcapillaries that are manufactured by heat melding together multiple layers of Microcapillary film (MCFs). The multilayer structure is created by hot pressing at a temperature close to the melting point of the polymer. Figure 1 shows the cross sectional view of preliminary experiments of high-voidage MCM formation which are being carried out to investigate the effect of temperature and compression ratio variation. The thickness of the MCM is a function of the number of bonded microcapillary films. High-voidage MCM is being produced using a commercial grade of linear low density polyethylene.
Figure 2. MCF-big voidage
Hydraulic diameter varies from = 150 µm to 417 µm
Figure 2 shows a cross sectional view of the high-voidage MCF (Microcapillary film). Potential applications for MCF extrusions are very diverse, from heat exchange to electrophoresis, and from micro-reactor technology to packaging.
High-voidage Microcapillary Monoliths are new and so at this stage we are not sure where they will find application. What is clear however is that they can form very photogenic microstructures.