Droplet-based microfluidics turned out to be an efficient and adjustable platform for digital analysis, encapsulation of cells, drug formulation, and polymerase chain reaction. Typically, for most biomedical applications, the handling of complex, non-Newtonian fluids is involved, e.g., synovial and salivary fluids, collagen, and gel scaffolds. In this study, we investigate the problem of droplet formation occurring in a microfluidic T-shaped junction, when the continuous phase is made of shear thinning liquids. At first, we review in detail the breakup process, providing extensive, side-by-side comparisons between Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids over unexplored ranges of flow conditions and viscous responses. The non-Newtonian liquid carrying the droplets is made of Xanthan solutions, a stiff, rodlike polysaccharide displaying a marked shear thinning rheology. By defining an effective Capillary number, a simple yet effective methodology is used to account for the shear-dependent viscous response occurring at the breakup. The droplet size can be predicted over a wide range of flow conditions simply by knowing the rheology of the bulk continuous phase. Experimental results are complemented with numerical simulations of purely shear thinning fluids using lattice Boltzmann models. The good agreement between the experimental and numerical data confirm the validity of the proposed rescaling with the effective Capillary number.

Droplet breakup driven by shear thinning solutions in a microfluidic T-junction

Chiarello, Enrico;Mistura, Giampaolo;Pierno, Matteo
2017

Abstract

Droplet-based microfluidics turned out to be an efficient and adjustable platform for digital analysis, encapsulation of cells, drug formulation, and polymerase chain reaction. Typically, for most biomedical applications, the handling of complex, non-Newtonian fluids is involved, e.g., synovial and salivary fluids, collagen, and gel scaffolds. In this study, we investigate the problem of droplet formation occurring in a microfluidic T-shaped junction, when the continuous phase is made of shear thinning liquids. At first, we review in detail the breakup process, providing extensive, side-by-side comparisons between Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids over unexplored ranges of flow conditions and viscous responses. The non-Newtonian liquid carrying the droplets is made of Xanthan solutions, a stiff, rodlike polysaccharide displaying a marked shear thinning rheology. By defining an effective Capillary number, a simple yet effective methodology is used to account for the shear-dependent viscous response occurring at the breakup. The droplet size can be predicted over a wide range of flow conditions simply by knowing the rheology of the bulk continuous phase. Experimental results are complemented with numerical simulations of purely shear thinning fluids using lattice Boltzmann models. The good agreement between the experimental and numerical data confirm the validity of the proposed rescaling with the effective Capillary number.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/3255292
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