Viscosity as a sensitive measure of material changes is a potential quality-control parameter for simple and rapid assessment of frying oil quality. However, conventional viscometers require improvements in throughput, portability, cost-effectiveness and usability to be widely adopted for quality-control applications. Here we present a 3D-printed multichannel viscometer for simple, inexpensive and multiplexed viscosity measurement. The multichannel viscometer enables both parallel actuation of multiple fluid flows by pressing the plunger of the viscometer by hand and direct measurement of their relative volumes dispensed with naked eye. Thus, the unknown viscosities of test fluids can be simultaneously determined by the volume ratios between a reference fluid of known viscosity and the test fluids of unknown viscosity. With a 4-plex version of the multichannel viscometer, we demonstrated that the viscometer is effective for rapid examination of the degradation of a vegetable oil during deep frying of potato strips and the recovery of used frying oil after treatment with an adsorbent agent to remove frying by-products. The measurement results obtained by the multichannel viscometer were highly correlated with those obtained using a commercial oil tester. We also demonstrated the multiplexing capability of the viscometer, fabricating a 10-plex version of the viscometer and measuring the viscosities of ten test liquids at the same time. Collectively, these results indicate that the 3D-printed multichannel viscometer represents a valuable tool for high-throughput examination of frying oil quality in resource-limited settings.
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