One of the best things about microfluidics research is the images. Colored dyes are used to track liquid flow, often producing beautiful photographs such as those seen in the artistic collaboration between George Whitesides and Felice Frankel.
Albert Folch’s lab at the University of Washington has created their own microfluidic art galleryusing images from their research. You can even order photocanvases of their work (all proceeds go back to the lab to fund more art). The group has exhibited their art in Seattle and have an upcoming gallery show in Barcelona in 2011.
The Colors of Viscosity. (Image credit: Chris Sip and Albert Folch)
Caption for “The Colors of Viscosity”, from the BAIT exhibit:
Fluids often behave in unexpected ways on the microscale. At this scale, the friction of the walls is very important and fluids behave much like honey in a coffee cup — the fluids cannot present turbulence and they flow “laminarly.” The image above is a composite of three pictures of the same device, each colored digitally with a different hue to embellish the effect. (The original dye color is green.) Flow is from top to bottom. The device stacks the flow of a water solution (invisible) on top of a dye solution. The dye is slightly more viscous than water, producing eerie flow patterns that resemble those of “lava lamps” — with the difference that these are completely stable.
For more microfluidic art from the Folch Lab, explore their Picasa gallery, which also contains movies!