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In this paper, we report a simple and inexpensive procedure to make a composite material of cellulose fibers with embedded zinc micoparticles. This fibrous material is produced by sedimentation and is referred to as “Zinculose”. Zinculose increases the surface contact area between a sample fluid and zinc microparticles. The effect of different parameters including fiber content, zinc content, water volume, applied weight and its duration on the thickness of produced Zinculose were investigated. Results show that thickness depends on the amount of initial fiber and zinc while other parameters investigated had little to no effect. Measured porosity values for Zinculose ranged between 0.699 and 0.843. Characterization of flow in Zinculose exhibits a linear relationship between distance and the square root of time which is a distinctive feature of capillary driven flow in porous media. This is an important quality that allows Zinculose to be easily incorporated into any paper-based microfluidic device that requires a sample to flow and interact with zinc microparticles without disrupting the flow path between different sections of the device. An application is presented in which a strip of Zinculose is used to convert nitrate to nitrite. With the use of Zinculose in a paper-based microfluidic device, a conversion efficiency of 27% nitrate to nitrite was achieved. This represents a 36% enhancement over what has been previously published when zinc microparticles were not embedded within the fibers of the paper channel.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.