Development of a flow cell for reproducible biofilm growth
Dalip Singh, David Dalip Jr
Date of Issue2017-05-19
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Biofilms are microbial communities and they are a significant part of the entire earth’s biosphere. These biofilms allow natural phenomena such as the beneficial bio bacteria growing in a fish tank that supports the nitrogen cycle but it can also cause a myriad of problems. The bad biofilms can cause issues such as diseases to ship hull inefficiencies. The study of these biofilms is the key to promote good biofilms and remove bad biofilms. Flow cells are common laboratory apparatus used to study certain characteristics of biofilms. However, current systems employed to study biofilms are lacking in a certain parameter control. In this project, different parameters are explored in how it affects the biofilm development. After which, based on a chosen parameter, develop a flow cell with a geometric pattern that concurs with the chosen parameter. In this case, a flow cell with a flow velocity gradient is developed. The design in this project affect the growth of biofilms because of the flow velocities that affects the shear stresses. A computational fluid dynamics simulation was done to verify the velocity behaviour of the geometric design. Finally, substratum materials were explored and selected. The fabrication techniques for the different materials were also explored. The prototype was then fabricated on a piece of polymethylmethacrylate for optical transparency which allows the flow chamber to be fully observable with non-invasive microscopy and imaging. Polymethyl-methacrylate also allows for simple and quick fabrication. The prototype was put to test in a Particle Image Velocimetry experiment to verify the real-world impact of the design on the fluid velocity.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University