This work establishes a platform technique for visualizing fluid transport through Anoidisc Alumina Oxide (AAO) membranes, which can be applied to Carbon Nanotube (CNT) arrays, and allow for the testing of the effects of other parameters on flow. Arrays of CNTs have shown significant promise for delivering biomolecules into cells with high efficiency while maintaining cell viability. In these applications, biomolecules flow through CNT arrays manufactured in our lab using Template-Based Chemical Vapor Deposition. By culturing cells on the opposite side of the array, they can be used to transfect biomolecules into cells. In this research, it was discovered that the transfection rate was dependent on the type of biomolecule being delivered into the cells. It was also inferred that the number of CNTs the cells covered would affect the transfection rate. In order to characterize flow through the CNT arrays, an experiment was designed and conducted to test the effect of changing the number of active CNTs. Preliminary testing showed the occurrence of an unknown error in the CNT array manufacturing process which prevented material from flowing through the CNT arrays. As a result, the study was modified to characterize flow through AAO membranes, which serve as the template for the CNTs. To accomplish this, a flow device was developed which restricted flow to a predefined circular area. Three different diameters were tested 6 mm, 4 mm, and 2 mm. Flow data was taken using fluorescent dye, as it diffused through the AAO into a volume of water on the opposite side, fluorescent intensity would increase. This data was plotted against time and used to model flow for the three tested diameters. The results indicated that the total time for diffusion increased as the diameters decreased. However, the relationship between the number of exposed pores and the flow time were not directly related, meaning the amount of flow through one pore changes with the total number of exposed pores. Testing was also conducted regarding the development of a flow device designed with two distinct flow inlets to the CNT array. This was done to determine the future feasibility of administering two distinct solutions into groups of cells. It was concluded that these devices could successfully be used for that purpose.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Fluid-structure interaction; Fluid mechanics; Carbon nanotubes

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Michael Schrlau

Advisor/Committee Member

Kathleen Lamkin-Kennard

Advisor/Committee Member

Michael Schertzer


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TA357.5.F58 J46 2016


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes