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Issue 22, 2011
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Microfluidic waves

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The propagation of pressure waves in fluidic channels with elastic covers is discussed in view of applications to flow control in microfluidic devices. A theory is presented which describes pressure waves in the fluid that are coupled to bending waves in the elastic cover. At low frequencies, the lateral bending of the cover dominates over longitudinal bending, leading to propagating, non-dispersive longitudinal pressure waves in the channel. The theory addresses effects due to both the finite viscosity and compressibility of the fluid. The coupled waves propagate without dispersion, as long as the wave length is larger than the channel width. It is shown that in channels of typical microfluidic dimensions, wave velocities in the range of a few 10 m sāˆ’1 result if the channels are covered by films of a compliant material such as PDMS. The application of this principle to design microfluidic band pass filters based on standing waves is discussed. Characteristic frequencies in the range of a few kHz are readily achieved with quality factors above 30.

Graphical abstract: Microfluidic waves

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Sep 2010, accepted on 18 Jul 2011 and first published on 30 Sep 2011

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00426J
Lab Chip, 2011,11, 3846-3854

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    Microfluidic waves

    M. Utz, M. R. Begley and H. Haj-Hariri, Lab Chip, 2011, 11, 3846
    DOI: 10.1039/C0LC00426J

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