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Issue 41, 2012
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Interacting viscous instabilities in microfluidic systems

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We discuss the formation, evolution, and stability of microfluidic flows involving two or more miscible fluids that have different viscosities. When two liquids that have widely different viscosities are injected into a rigid microfluidic device, their flow streams can naturally rearrange to form lubricated threads or stratified flows depending on the geometry and history of injection. An overview of two-fluid and three-fluid flow configurations in microchannels having square cross-sections is given for a variety of injection geometries. Miscible viscous fluid threads in confined microsystems can experience a range of viscous instabilities, such as folding and swirling. We show that microfluidics can be used to cause two or more instabilities to interact and co-evolve in diverging microchannels, thereby creating a variety of complex flow patterns.

Graphical abstract: Interacting viscous instabilities in microfluidic systems

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Article information

18 Apr 2012
18 Jun 2012
First published
03 Jul 2012

Soft Matter, 2012,8, 10573-10582
Article type
Review Article

Interacting viscous instabilities in microfluidic systems

T. Cubaud and T. G. Mason, Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 10573
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM25902H

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