Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Lab-on-chip device for the analysis of oils

Edible oilsOil viscosity measurementPDMSQuality of oils


Non-biomedical lab-on-chip device to control the quality of food oils in restaurants or public places where frying oils are used repeatedly and to test the excellence of an oil following a suspected addition of lower quality olive oils.

Technical features

The setup of the invention is composed of a PDMS (polydimethylsiloxane) micro-channel equipped with an oleophobic coating and interfaced with an optical microscope and a computer for data analysis and processing. These two instruments can be replaced by a smartphone equipped with a high resolution camera and a suitable software. The type of oil is determined by calculating the viscosity parameter from capillary dynamics curves. It is thus possible to measure the viscosity of different oils using a few microliters of substance, without the need for a reference sample. The lab-on-chip device is also capable of acting as a chromatographic column by separating mixtures of two different oils. In this case, two distinct values of dynamic viscosity can be extrapolated, thus allowing identification of the two components of the mixture.

Possible Applications

To be applied both in the food sector and in industrial plants to:

  • Monitor changes in viscosity following chemical-physical treatments;
  • Evaluate the efficiency of regeneration processes.


  • Cost-effective if compared to similar devices;
  • It is disposable;
  • It is portable;
  • The measurement does not require a reference sample.