In this work plastic micro channel systems were investigated as a potential device for micro solvent extraction of rare earth elements. The proposed microfluidic structures are made by laser welding of three layers of inexpensive thermoplastic films which form separate paths (top and bottom channels) for each of the immiscible fluids. The middle layer is perforated in order to provide contact between two fluids and to enable the extraction process. Experiments were performed to show that two different immiscible fluids (water and 1-octanol) can flow through the fabricated device and exit at separate outlets without mixing even when those fluids get into close contact within the main channel. Experimental results for single devices show that immiscible fluids can be brought into intimate contact and then separated with compliant polymeric microfluidic devices. The transfer of a compound from one immiscible fluid to the other was verified by dye exchange between the immiscible fluids. The same fabrication method is a promising technique for fabrication of massively parallel systems with larger throughput.

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