UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Bioprocess Microfluidics

Course Title BENGM027
Year Four
Credits 0.5
Course Tutors Professor Nicolas Szita
Assessment Practical laboratory session reports (50%)
Design coursework (50%)
MATH 6502, BIOC 2007, BENG 1003, BENG 2009, BENG 2010, BENG 2011, BENG 3008


The course provides the Biochemical Engineering student with the necessary knowledge to consider microfluidic and micro-scale approaches for bioprocessing applications. The aims of the course are to familiarise students with microfluidic technology, microfabrication techniques, advanced fluid mechanics, and available microfluidic and micro-scale bioprocessing methods. Expert lectures from industry will provide in-depth understanding of exemplary, commercially available devices and their applications. Practical laboratory sessions will support a hands-on understanding of the topic.

Learning Hours


Lectures: 30h
Expert Lectures: 4h
Practical Sessions: 10h


  • Fluid mechanics Dimensionless numbers (Reynolds, Peclet, Froude). Velocity and stress field. Momentum equation (Navier-Stokes). Viscous Flow. Theory of mixing at different scales. Fluidics in micro-wells.
  • Microfluidic design and microfabrication Material selection (polymer, glass, silicon) and related fabrication processes. Rapid prototyping. Chip-to-macroworld interfacing. Bonding techniques. Pumping and valving methods. Active and passive micro mixers. Parallelisation and automation. Residence times in laminar flow devices.
  • Applications Microfluidic and micro-well reactors. Biocatalytic micro reactors. Micro bioreactors for fermentation. Stem cell culture micro devices. Scale-up from micro-well reactors. Microwell-based tip chromatography.
  • Expert lectures
  • Practicals (1) Demonstration of CAD software. Introduction to UCL-BE microfluidic platform technology and corresponding design rules. (2) Laser fabrication of microfluidic chip. Demonstration (only) of other fabrication techniques. (3) Enzymatic assay. Demonstration of laminar flow and mixing principles. (4) Micro-well process automation. Establishing a process sheet and programming liquid handling device. (5) Micro-well tip chromatography.