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Basic Principles in Microfluidics

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Newton’s Second Law for Fluidics
Newton’s 2nd Law (F= ma) :
• Time rate of change of momentum of a system equal to net force
acting on system

dP
!F =
• dt =
Sum of forces acting on control volume
Rate of momentum efflux from control volume
+
Rate of accumulation of momentum in control volume

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Navier - Stokes Equation
• Navier-Stokes equation applies when:
(1) There are more than one million molecules
in smallest volume that a macroscopic change
takes place.
(2) The flow is not too far from thermodynamic
equilibrium.

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Navier - Stokes Equation

dU \$
! = "#P + ! g + \$# U + #(#iU )
2

dt 3

For noncompressible Fluid !iU = 0

dU
! = "#P + ! g + \$# 2U
dt
dU "P \$ 2
=! +g+ " U
dt # #

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Navier - Stokes in Microfluidics
• Terms become dominant based on physics of scale
• In microfluidics inertial forces dominate due to
small dimensions, even though velocity can be
high
dU "P \$ 2
=! +g+ " U
dt # #

dU 1
= ! #P
dt "

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VISCOSITY

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Viscosity

Viscosity is a measure of resistance (friction)

of the fluid to the flow

Units: Poise (gram/sec * Cm)

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Viscosity
Viscosity is a measure of resistance (friction)
of the fluid to the flow.

Units: Poise (gram/sec• Cm)

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Basic Properties - Viscosity
Fluids and gases are very different
• Fluids become less viscous as temperature
increases
• Gases become more viscous at temperature
increases

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Viscosity in Gases and Fluids

• Gases 3
(T0 - constant) " T % 2
! = !0
(T0 - constant) \$# T0 '&

• Fluids
η ∼ η0 e − (Τ − Τ0)

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Interfaces and Surface Tension

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Interfaces
• Interface: Geometric Surface that delimits 2
fluids
• Separation depends on molecular
interactions and Brownian diffusion

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Interfaces
• Interface: Geometric Surface that delimits 2
fluids
• Simplified view:
At interface:
different energies

Interaction between
molecules

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Interfaces
• If U is the total cohesive energy per
molecule and d is a characteristic molecular
dimension, d2 is its surface, then the energy
loss (surface tension) is given by:

U
! = 2
2d

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Laplace’s Law
• Minimization of surface energy, create
curvature of fluids on other surfaces (fluids)
• Curvature 1/R
• Laplace’s Law, the change in pressure is
related to the curvature of the surface.
For a sphere: ∆P = 2 (γ/R)
For a cylinder: ∆P = γ/R

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Droplet on a Surface of Two Properties

Simulations
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Coarsening
• Two Droplets linked by a precursor film

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Coarsening
• Two Droplets linked by a precursor film

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Contact Angle
• Surface tension (force per length)
• Angle is determined by the balance of
forces at the point of interface

Hydrophilic Hydrophobic

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Contact Angle
• Surface tension (force per length)
• Angle is determined by the balance of
forces at the point of interface

Oil on Water

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Hydrophilic - Hydrophobic

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Surface Tension
• Droplet on a surface
– Forces on cross section of drop
– Surface tension along periphery
– Pressure on section area
– Pressure difference outside/inside drop

Force = !PA = " r2!P Surface Tension=2! r"

r
! = "P
2
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Forces - Capillary Effects
• A wetting fluid will rise in a capillary tube
• Equilibrium: pressure drop across meniscus
• Surface tension
• Viscosity

2! Cos(" )
h=
# gr

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Capillary Force

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Capillary Forces

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Capillary Forces
• Small Channel (capillary) - Surface tension draws fluid of density ρ into
the channel of radius ( r)

F = 2! r" Cos(# )
• θ = contact angle
γ = surface tension (N/m)

• Height of Fluid in a tube in the presence of gravity

2! Cos(" )
h=
# gr
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Forces - Capillary Effects

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Capillary Forces

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Droplet on Surfaces

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Droplet on Irregular Surfaces

r: roughness
f: ratio of contact angle to the total horizon surface
Young’s critical angle cos(θ) = (f-1) / (r-f)
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Wettability and Roughness

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Reynolds Number

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Fluids - Types of Flow
• Energy losses are dominated by viscosity effects
• Fluid particles move along smooth paths in laminas or layers
• Turbulent
• Most flow in nature are turbulent!
• Fluid particles move in irregular paths,
somewhat similar to the molecular
momentum transfer but on a much
larger scale
• Reynolds Number
• Re is a measure of turbulence

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Reynolds Number
Reynolds number (Re) = inertial forces / viscous forces

Re = Kinetic energy / energy dissipated by shear

Implies inertia relatively important
1
mVD2
( ! AL)VD L
Re = 2 Re = Re = !VD
1
!VD A "A "
2
VD = Drag velocity, L = characteristic length, η= viscosity, ρ = density

Re < 2100 : laminar (Stokes) flow regime – slow fluid flow, no inertial effects
– laminar flow in microfluidics
– slow time constants, heavy damping
Re > 4000 : unstable laminar flow - turbulent flow regime
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High and Low Reynolds number fluidics

When the Reynolds number is low, viscous

interaction between the wall and the fluid is
strong, and there is no turbulences or vortices

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Is this Flow Turbulent?
Channel Geometry - Use a characteristic length : Dh
!
Re = VDh
"

Dh is a geometric constant
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Is this Flow Turbulent?

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Mixing
Re = 12 and Re = 70

Cycle 1

Cycle 2

Cycle 3

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Microchannels Cross Sections

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Re and Size

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Re - Some examples
Re

Friction factor ~ 1/ Re

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Human Circulatory System

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Flow associated with Skin

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Knudsen Number
• Knudsen number assumes that we can treat the material as a
“continuum”
• Continuum hypothesis holds better for liquids than gases
also,
!mfp !" M
Kn = Kn = ( )
Dh 2 Re
λmfp= mean free path of molecules, Dh = hydraulic diameter
• Kn measures deviation of the state of the material continuum
Kn< 0.01 continuum
0.01 < Kn < 0.1 slip flow
0.1 < Kn < 10 transition region
10 < Kn molecular flow

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The Smallest Length Scale of a Continuum
High Re Low Re

M !"
Kn =
Re 2 47
Stokes - Einstein Diffusion

Stokes - Einstein Equation

Diffusion of a particle
(gas, fluid) η

K BT
Translational Diffusivity Dt =
6!"a
K BT
Dr =
Rotational Diffusivity 8!"a 3
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Diffusion in Fluids
• Very short diffusion times

x = 2D! !=
1 x2
2 D
D = diffusion constant
X = diffusion length
τ = diffusion rate

• Laminar flow limits benefits for fluid mixing.

• Highly predictable diffusion has enabled a new class of
microfluidic diffusion mixers

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Fluid Squeeze

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Squeezed film damping
• Squeeze a film by pushing on the plates (one is not moving) Viscous drag is opposing the motion of the
fluid
• Beam displacement
"U 2
"U F4
! 2 + EI 4 = P +
• Flow of fluid (Reynolds equation) "t "u L
Knudsen number, K,
is the ratio of the mean free path to gap
d(Ph)
12! = "{(1 + 6k)h 3 P"P}
dt
dU 96!W 3
P=b b= 4 3 L
• Squeeze number: relative importance of viscous to spring forces dt " h

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Concluding Remarks

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Summary
• Re = turbulent / viscous stresses
• Re < 2100 : laminar (Stokes) flow regime,
slow fluid flow, no inertial effects
• laminar flow in microfluidics
• slow time constants, heavy damping
• Re > 4000 : turbulent flow regime

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Fluid Behavioral
What happens when the fluid is on the micro -
nano scale?
We discussed scaling - this is a review
Quantities proportional L3
• Inertia, buoyancy, etc.
Quantities proportional L2
• Drag, surface charge, etc.
Quantities proportional L1
• Surface tension
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Who “Rules”

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