Optimised multi-stream microfluidic designs for controlled extensional deformation

Zografos, Konstantinos and Haward, Simon J. and Oliveira, Mónica S. N. (2019) Optimised multi-stream microfluidic designs for controlled extensional deformation. Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, 23 (12). 131. ISSN 1613-4982 (https://doi.org/10.1007/s10404-019-2295-x)

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In this study, we optimise two types of multi-stream configurations (a T-junction and a flow-focusing design) to generate a homogeneous extensional flow within a well-defined region. The former is used to generate a stagnation point flow allowing molecules to accumulate significant strain, which has been found very useful for performing elongational studies. The latter relies on the presence of opposing lateral streams to shape a main stream and generate a strong region of extension in which the shearing effects of fluid–wall interactions are reduced near the region of interest. The optimisations are performed in two (2D) and three dimensions (3D) under creeping flow conditions for Newtonian fluid flow. It is demonstrated that in contrast with the classical-shaped geometries, the optimised designs are able to generate a well-defined region of homogeneous extension. The operational limits of the obtained 3D optimised configurations are investigated in terms of Weissenberg number for both constant viscosity and shear-thinning viscoelastic fluids. Additionally, for the 3D optimised flow-focusing device, the operational limits are investigated in terms of increasing Reynolds number and for a range of velocity ratios between the opposing lateral streams and the main stream. For all obtained 3D optimised multi-stream configurations, we perform the experimental validation considering a Newtonian fluid flow. Our results show good agreement with the numerical study, reproducing the desired kinematics for which the designs are optimised.