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Issue 22, 2011
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Passive droplet trafficking at microfluidic junctions under geometric and flow asymmetries

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Abstract

When droplets enter a junction they sort to the channel with the highest flow rate at that instant. Transport is regulated by a discrete time-delayed feedback that results in a highly periodic behavior where specific patterns can continue to cycle indefinitely. Between these highly ordered regimes are chaotic structures where no pattern is evident. Here we develop a model that describes droplet sorting under various asymmetries: branch geometry (length, cross-section), droplet resistance and pressures. First, a model is developed based on the continuum assumption and then, with the assistance of numerical simulations, a discrete model is derived to predict the length and composition of the sorting pattern. Furthermore we derive all unique sequences that are possible for a given distribution and develop a preliminary estimation of why chaotic regimes form. The model is validated by comparing it to numerical simulations and results from microfluidic experiments in PDMS chips with good agreement.

Graphical abstract: Passive droplet trafficking at microfluidic junctions under geometric and flow asymmetries

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Publication details

The article was received on 13 Jul 2011, accepted on 19 Aug 2011 and first published on 23 Sep 2011


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20628A
Citation: Lab Chip, 2011,11, 3774-3784
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    Passive droplet trafficking at microfluidic junctions under geometric and flow asymmetries

    T. Glawdel, C. Elbuken and C. Ren, Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 3774
    DOI: 10.1039/C1LC20628A

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