Extensional flow of hyaluronic acid solutions in an optimized micofluidic cross-slot device

Haward, S.J. and Jaishankar, A. and Oliveira, Monica and Alves, M.A. and McKinley, G.H. (2013) Extensional flow of hyaluronic acid solutions in an optimized micofluidic cross-slot device. Biomicrofluidics, 7 (4). Article 044108. ISSN 1932-1058 (https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4816708)

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We utilize a recently developed microfluidic device, the Optimized Shape Cross-slot Extensional Rheometer (OSCER), to study the elongational flow behavior and rheological properties of hyaluronic acid (HA) solutions representative of the synovial fluid (SF) found in the knee joint. The OSCER geometry is a stagnation point device that imposes a planar extensional flow with a homogenous extension rate over a significant length of the inlet and outlet channel axes. Due to the compressive nature of the flow generated along the inlet channels, and the planar elongational flow along the outlet channels, the flow field in the OSCER device can also be considered as representative of the flow field that arises between compressing articular cartilage layers of the knee joints during running or jumping movements. Full-field birefringence microscopy measurements demonstrate a high degree of localized macromolecular orientation along streamlines passing close to the stagnation point of the OSCER device, while micro-particle image velocimetry is used to quantify the flow kinematics. The stress-optical rule is used to assess the local extensional viscosity in the elongating fluid elements as a function of the measured deformation rate. The large limiting values of the dimensionless Trouton ratio, Tr ∼ O(50), demonstrate that these fluids are highly extensional-thickening, providing a clear mechanism for the load-dampening properties of SF. The results also indicate the potential for utilizing the OSCER in screening of physiological SF samples, which will lead to improved understanding of, and therapies for, disease progression in arthritis sufferers.