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Issue 19, 2010
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Predictive model for the size of bubbles and droplets created in microfluidic T-junctions

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Abstract

We present a closed-form expression that allows the reader to predict the size of bubbles and droplets created in T-junctions without fitting. Despite the wide use of microfluidic devices to create bubbles and droplets, a physically sound expression for the size of bubbles and droplets, key in many applications, did not yet exist. The theoretical foundation of our expression comprises three main ingredients: continuity, geometrics and recently gained understanding of the mechanism which leads to pinch-off. Our simple theoretical model explains why the size of bubbles and droplets strongly depends on the shape of a T-junction, and teaches how the shape can be tuned to obtain the desired size. We successfully validated our model experimentally by analyzing the formation of gas bubbles, as well as liquid droplets, in T-junctions with a wide variety of shapes under conditions typical to multiphase microfluidics.

Graphical abstract: Predictive model for the size of bubbles and droplets created in microfluidic T-junctions

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Feb 2010, accepted on 16 Jun 2010 and first published on 09 Jul 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C002625E
Citation: Lab Chip, 2010,10, 2513-2518
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    Predictive model for the size of bubbles and droplets created in microfluidic T-junctions

    V. van Steijn, C. R. Kleijn and M. T. Kreutzer, Lab Chip, 2010, 10, 2513
    DOI: 10.1039/C002625E

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