Simple and low-cost fabrication of microfluidic devices has attracted considerable attention among researchers. The traditional soft lithography fabrication method requires expensive equipment like a UV exposure system and mask fabrication facility. In this work, an alternative and low-cost UV exposure system was introduced along with an alternative mask fabrication system. A previously reported passive microfluidic mixer was fabricated successfully using this modified soft lithography method. Challenges were presented during this modified fabrication method. Another emerging potential alternative for the fabrication of microfluidic mixers is 3D printing. It was also used in this experiment to fabricate a passive micromixer. This method is well known for rapid prototyping and the creations of complex structures. However, this method has several disadvantages like optical transparency, lower resolution fabrication, difficulties in flow characterization, etc. These problems were addressed, and the solutions were discussed in this work. Comparative analysis between 3D printing and soft lithography fabrication was presented. Flow characterization inside the 3D printed micromixer was carried out using the microparticulate image velocimetry (micro-PIV) system. It explains how the geometrical shape of the micromixer accelerates the natural diffusion process to mix the different fluid streams. Finally, a 3D numerical simulation of the passive micromixer was carried out to visualize the flow dynamics inside the micromixer. The flow pattern found from the numerical simulation and the experimental flow characterization is analogous. These observations could play an important role to design and fabricate cost-effective micromixers for lab-on-a-chip devices.

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