Polymer conformation during flow in porous media†
Molecular conformations of individual polymers during flow through porous media are directly observed by single-DNA imaging in microfluidics. As the Weissenberg number increases during flow (Wi > 1), we observe two types of elastic instabilities: (a) stationary dead-zone and (b) time-dependant dead-zone washing. When stretched polymer chains enter a dead-zone, they first re-coil and, once inside the dead-zone, they rotate and re-stretch again. The probability distribution of DNA chains under the stretched condition inside the dead-zone is found to be heterogeneous with a broad distribution.