3D measurement and simulation of surface acoustic wave driven fluid motion: a comparison
The characterisation of the fluid motion induced by the acoustic streaming effect is of paramount interest for novel microfluidic devices based on surface acoustic waves (SAWs), e.g. for a detailed description of the achievable mixing efficiency and thus the design of such devices. Here, we present for the first time a quantitative 3D comparison between experimental measurements and numerical simulations of the acoustic streaming induced fluid flow inside a microchannel originating from a SAW. On the one hand, we performed fully three-dimensional velocity measurements using the astigmatism particle tracking velocimetry. On the other hand, we derived a novel streaming force approach solving the damped wave equation, which allows fast and easy 3D simulations of the acoustic streaming induced fluid flow. Furthermore, measurements of the SAW amplitude profile inside the fluid filled microchannel were performed. Based on these results, we obtained a very good agreement between the velocity measurements and the simulations of the fluid flow demonstrating the importance of comprising the actual shape of the SAW amplitude profile for quantitatively reliable simulations. It is shown that the novel streaming force approach is a valid approximation for the simulation of the acoustic streaming induced fluid flow, allowing a rapid and simple estimation of the flow field of SAW based microfluidic devices.