Quick Search


Multiphysics Simulation: An IEEE Spectrum Insert
Manager’s Guide

Modeling the Electrochemistry of Blood Glucose Test Strips

Stephen Mackintosh
Lifescan Scotland

Lifescan Scotland is a medical device company that designs and manufactures blood glucose monitoring kits for the global diabetes market. These involve the self-monitoring of blood glucose levels through specialized monitoring systems and test strips that comprise of a plastic substrate, two carbon-based electrodes, a thin dry reagent layer, and a capillary volume where the blood is placed.

Lifescan Scotland is now taking the next step by developing test strips that yield faster results and increase accuracy to meet ever-growing regulatory demands and reduce manufacturing costs through utilizing robust multiphysics simulation. In order to mimic what happens in reality, they considered several physics as part of their simulation: diffusion with non-constant diffusion coefficients, Michaelis-Menten reaction kinetics, electric current, Butler-Volmer expressions, temperature, and variable boundary conditions. COMSOL Multiphysics helped in developing powerful working models, and these led to cost-effective optimization of device chemistry and enabled rapid prototyping.

3D slice plot, showing the concentration of a diffusing blood species in a simplified strip chamber, with both working and counter electrodes.