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Hysteresis in multiphase microfluidics at a T-junction

Zagnoni, Michele and Anderson, Jamie and Cooper, Jonathan M (2010) Hysteresis in multiphase microfluidics at a T-junction. Langmuir, 26 (12). pp. 9416-9422. ISSN 0743-7463

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Abstract

Multiphase microfluidics offer a wide range of functionalities in the fields of fluid dynamics, biology, particle synthesis, and, more recently, also in logical computation. In this article, we describe the hysteresis of immiscible, multiphase flow obtained in hydrophilic, microfluidic systems at a T-junction. Stable and unstable state behaviors, in the form of segmented and parallel flow patterns of oil and water, were reliably produced, depending upon the history of the flow rates applied to the phases. The transition mechanisms between the two states were analyzed both experimentally and using numerical simulations, describing how the physical and fluid dynamic parameters influenced the hysteretic behavior of the flow. The characteristics of these multiphase systems render them suitable to be used as pressure comparators and also for the implementation of microfluidic logic operations.