Simultaneous viscosity and density measurement of small volumes of liquids using a vibrating microcantilever†
Many industrial and technological applications require precise determination of the viscosity and density of liquids. Such measurements can be time consuming and often require sampling substantial amounts of the liquid. These problems can partly be overcome with the use of microcantilevers but most existing methods depend on the specific geometry and properties of the cantilever, which renders simple, accurate measurement difficult. Here we present a new approach able to simultaneously quantify both the density and the viscosity of microliters of liquids. The method, based solely on the measurement of two characteristic frequencies of an immersed microcantilever, is completely independent of the choice of a cantilever. We derive analytical expressions for the liquid's density and viscosity and validate our approach with several simple liquids and different cantilevers. Application of our model to non-Newtonian fluids shows that the calculated viscosities are remarkably robust when compared to measurements obtained from a standard rheometer. However, the results become increasingly dependent on the cantilever geometry as the frequency-dependent nature of the liquid's viscosity becomes more significant.
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