Self-sufficient micro degasser

Outline

© Photo Fraunhofer EMFT /Bernd Müller

Degasser based on micro pump.

Gases dissolved in liquids can cause serious problems in chemical or biotechnological processes.For example, changes in pressure or temperature can cause the gas in the liquid to outgas, resulting in tiny gas bubbles in the liquid. These in turn may lead to falsified measurement values of the sensors, diminished compressing ability of the liquid, or lower performance of the equipment. In worst case the whole system may fail, for example if valves or tubes are blocked by gas bubbles.

The scientists at Fraunhofer Research Institution for Microsystems and Solid State Technologies EMFT in Munich have developed a self-sufficient micro degasser, capable of removing gas bubbles and dissolved gas from a liquid. The heart of the system is a silicon micropump developed at the Fraunhofer EMFT and integrated in the degasser. It is capable of producing negative pressures of up to -55 kPa, which is enough to create the necessary vacuum in the chamber and to maintain it during the degassing process.

A functional demonstrator of the micro degasser already exists, exhibiting a degassing efficiency of 50% at the flow rate of 50-200μl/min in the tests so far. It is equipped with two standard Luer connectors for the intake and drain, as well as an electronic interface for the voltage control of the micropump, thus allowing for uncomplicated integration of the degasser with most systems.

Application

The degassers available for tackling this challenge today are bulky and expensive, and can in most cases only be used in laboratories with special infrastructure at their disposal. The self-sufficient degasser, on the other hand, needs only one power outlet for the operation. This allows for a mobile and flexible use for diverse analysis and processing tasks in medical technology, biotechnology or chemical industry.

 

Funding

The project was supported by Fraunhofer within the framework of a MEF project.