Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 2, 2013
Previous Article Next Article

Flow-driven formation of solid-like microsphere heaps

Author affiliations


We observe the formation of heaps of repulsive microspheres, created by flowing a colloidal microsphere suspension towards a flat-topped ridge placed within a quasi two-dimensional microfluidic channel. This configuration allows for both shear and normal forces on the microspheres in contact with the ridge. The heaps, which are formed against the ridge, are characterized by two distinct phases: a solid-like bulk phase in the interior and a highly fluctuating, liquid-like state which exists along its leading edge. We observe that heaps only form above a critical flow velocity, vc, and that they are destroyed by thermal rearrangements when the flow ceases. We monitor the dynamics of heap formation using fluorescence video microscopy, measuring the heap volume and the angle of repose in response to microsphere deposition and erosion processes. We find that the steady state angle of repose, θf, increases as a function of inflow velocity, v, with a functional form Image ID:c2sm26762d-t1.gif.

Graphical abstract: Flow-driven formation of solid-like microsphere heaps

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 30 Jul 2012, accepted on 03 Oct 2012 and first published on 29 Oct 2012

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26762D
Soft Matter, 2013,9, 543-549

  •   Request permissions

    Flow-driven formation of solid-like microsphere heaps

    C. P. Ortiz, R. Riehn and K. E. Daniels, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 543
    DOI: 10.1039/C2SM26762D

Search articles by author