Zone Fluidics (ZF) is the precisely controlled physical, chemical, and fluid-dynamic manipulation of zones of miscible and immiscible fluids and suspended solids in narrow bore conduits to accomplish sample conditioning and chemical analysis.

A zone is a volume region within a flow conduit containing at least one unique characteristic.

The term fluid in this paper refers to a substance tending to flow or conform to the outline of its container [1] and includes liquids, gases, aerosols, and suspensions.

From an operational point of view, ZF is an approach to sample handling where a zone or zones are shuttled between and within an assembly of one or more unit operations where different sample processing steps are performed. Fluid handling is accomplished in a fluidics manifold like the one depicted in the following schematic.




At the heart of a typical ZF manifold is a multi-position selection valve. Fluids are propelled and manipulated in the manifold by means of a precise bi-directional flow pump. A holding coil between the pump and valve performs a similar role as in SIA. The ports of the multi-position valve are coupled to various reservoirs, reactors, unit operators, manifold devices, and detectors as indicated.  Narrow bore conduits comprise the flow channels and provide fluid contact between manifold devices and components.

ZF utilizes elements from other flow-based techniques; nevertheless it is different from these techniques. Zone Fluidics is described in a paper published in Analytical Chimica Acta - Marshall, Wolcott, and Olson, Anal. Chim. Acta, 499, (2003), pp. 29-40.



[1] Miriam Webster’s collegiate dictionary defines a “fluid” as “having particles that easily move and change their relative position without a separation of the mass and that easily yield to pressure : capable of flowing”