Diffusion bonded fluidic manifolds have a wide range of applications to manage fluid flow and reduce complexity into a single, repeatable “PCB for Fluids”. These are used widely in applications including medical devices, diagnostics equipment, and industrial pneumatic systems. They are most often produced using clear Acrylic (PMMA) but coloured options are possible and useful.
Acrylic is produced in a vast array of colours, in fact the choice is infinite as you can get it colour matched to whatever you like, such as your corporate company colours or your favourite toy. There is an increasing amount of manifold applications that use a mix of clear and coloured layers, for a variety of reasons.
Contrast, sample viewing
An opal or white layer is often used bonded to a clear layer to aid viewing liquid samples. This can be particularly useful in clinical diagnostics applications involving fluorescence and also support basic visual differentiation of samples and colours.
Having a coloured, non-transparent layer has been used to hide the design and operation of the fluidic manifold, either from the user or inquisitive competitors.
Using an opal layer to be in contact with a disposable cartridge or other frequent contact components, provides a more durable and longer lasting surface. A key property of opal acrylic is a much higher level of abrasiveness or hardness, which makes it far more durable and scratch resistant than clear acrylic. Also, the colour hides small scratches that can be easily seen on clear acrylic.
Aesthetics – corporate branding
Colour bonded layers can be used for purely aesthetic purposes such as having a fluidic manifold in your corporate colours. Although diffusion bonding of different colours of acrylic is possible due the same basic chemical composition, the actual techniques to bond dissimilar colours needs modification as the mechanical properties are different. The pigments used in the coloured variants change the properties of the material including hardness and glass transition temperature, resulting in careful adjustments in bonding time, heat and pressure to ensure a full bond whilst maintaining the integrity and accuracy of the CNC machined features.
Carville has been using it’s unique, High Accuracy Diffusion Bonding (HADB) method to produce mixed coloured fluidic manifolds for over 20 years, supporting clients around the world.
For further information or to discuss an application, please contact Carville Ltd.