We describe and characterize a pumping mechanism that leverages the momentum present in small droplets ejected from a micro-nozzle to drive flow in an open microfluidic device. This approach allows driving flow in a microfluidic device in a regime that offers unique features different to those achievable with typical passive pumping or syringe-pump driven flow. Two flow regimes with specific flow characteristics are described: inertia enhanced passive pumping, in which fluid exchange times in the channel are significantly reduced, and inertia actuated flow, in which it is possible to initiate flow in an empty channel or against natural pressure gradients. Momentum is leveraged to create rapid fluid exchanges, instantaneous flow reversal, filling and mixing inside the microfluidic device.
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