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Livermore awarded a patent for sealable microvalves
MIE Associate Professor Carol Livermore and doctoral student Chenye Yang were awarded a patent for a “Sealable microvalve that can be repeatedly opened and sealed” that can be used for miniature vacuum and analysis systems.
Abstract Source: USPTO
A substantially leak-free, sealable microvalve that can be repeatedly opened and sealed is presented. The resealable microvalve includes a block with a through via and a sealing plate. The gap between the block and the sealing plate is sealed by a sealing material. The sealing material can be melted when heat is applied and can be solidified when heat is absent. To close the resealable microvalve, heat is applied by flowing a current through a resistive heater and an actuator brings the block and the sealing plate into a contacting position. By removing the heat, the sealing material is solidified and creates a sealed state. To open the resealable microvalve, heat is applied to the sealing material. When the sealing material melts, the actuator moves the block and the sealing plate into a spaced apart position.