Innovation of the Month - March 2020

Every month, we highlight an outstanding example of UNH intellectual property with excellent commercial potential. Contact unh.innovation@unh.edu for more information about any of UNH's innovations.

Visco drop

Viscoelastic Liquid Drop Generator

A patented method of creating discrete droplets of a desired size from viscoelastic materials, eliminating waste caused by the the beads-on-a-string effect, which is common when dispensing viscoelastic material.

Download the Non-Confidential Brief

 

Applications:

  • 3D printing of polymer solutions/melts

  • Ink/Bioink-jet printing/Drop-on-Demand

  • Dispensing of protein solutions/biofluids

  • Printable electronic circuits and components

  • Continuous encapsulation of viscoelastic fluids

  • Viscous liquid packaging equipment

  • Electronics – surface mount technologies

  • Selective adhesive processes

  • Custom gasket sealing applications
     

Benefits:

  • Handles a wide range of viscoelastic materials

  • Eliminates the beads-on-a-string effect

  • Produces precise uniform droplets

  • Customizable configurations

 

US Patent No. 10258986 B2

 

Overview

In almost every situation involving fluid handling, from the lab bench to the factory floor, viscoelastic fluids are present. Typically, dispensing viscoelastic materials is plagued by long filament and multiple daughter drop formation seen in the beads-on-a-string effect. Given the wide ranges of viscoelasticity different fluids may possess, current technology struggles to precisely dispense these difficult fluids. This UNH innovation successfully eliminates the detrimental beads on-a-string effect in a laboratory setting. Its customizable design can be adapted to a microscale or macroscale for a wide range of droplet sizes and production speeds. It can also be refined for a specific range of viscoelasticity for a given material. Dispensing can be done using an immiscible carrying fluid or gas. The device and methodology are ripe for utilization, and the process can be scaled up to address much larger manufacturing needs.

Lead Innovators, Brian Zukas, Ph.D. & Nivedita Gupta, Ph.D.

Dr. Brian Zukas received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of New Hampshire in 2018. He also has a B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering from UNH. He has expertise in viscoelastic fluid flows, encapsulation, and microfluidics.

Nivedita Gupta, Ph.D. is a professor of chemical engineering at UNH. Gupta received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Penn State University in 1999. Her research interests are in the areas of interfacial flows, Marangoni flows, computational fluid dynamics, and microfluidics.

 

For more information, contact Matt Simon
Senior Licensing Manager for Engineering & Physical Sciences

matthew.simon@unh.edu  |  603.862.0829