Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Dr. Lingyun Liu

Second Reader

Dr. Gang Cheng


The purpose of this project was to model the size of calcium alginate microbeads produced by extruding a solution of 1.5 wt.% alginate from a syringe and needle with air shear generated from a pneumatic line flowing in an annular tube around the extrusion needle. The air shear would create microdroplets that would fall into a solution of 2 wt.% calcium chloride in water, crosslinking the droplets into beads. These microbeads can be used in drug dispersion applications or in encapsulation of cells throughout the body due to their biocompatibility. The goal was to create uniform beads that ranged from 200 to 300 μm in diameter for injection based drug delivery and tissue engineering applications. Microbeads were successfully modeled and produced for diameters ranging from 100 to 1,000 μm. However, only microbeads in the 600 to 1,000 μm range were uniform. For a sample to be considered uniform, it must have had a coefficient of variance (CV) under 15%. Since the desired size range of the microbeads was not produced, no efforts were made to increase the production rates of the beads. The simplicity of the experimental setup may prove useful for applications where the desired microbead diameter ranges from 600 to 1,000 μm.