A hybrid micromixer with planar mixing units†
The application of microfluidic systems in chemical and biological assays has progressed dramatically in recent years. One of the fundamental operations that microfluidic devices must achieve is a high mixing index. Of particular importance is the role of planar mixing units with repetitive obstacles (MURO) in the formation of micromixers. To date, a myriad of planar passive micromixers has been proposed. However, a strategy for the combination of these units to find an efficient planar mixer has not been investigated. As such, five different MURO have been selected to form a “hybrid micromixer,” and their combination was evaluated via numerical and experimental methods. These mixing units include ellipse-like, Tesla, nozzle and pillar, teardrop, and obstruction in a curved mixing unit. Since these units have distinctive dimensions, dynamic and geometric similarities were used to scale and connect them. Afterwards, six slots were designated to house each mixing unit. Since the evaluation of all possible unit configurations is not feasible, the design of experiment method is applied to reduce the total number of experiments from 15 625 to 25. Following this procedure, the “hybrid” micromixer proposed here, comprising Tesla, nozzle and pillar, and obstruction units, shows improved performance for a wide range of Re (i.e., mixing index of >90% for Re 0.001–0.1, 22–45) over existing designs. The use of velocity profiles, concentration diagrams, vorticity and circulation plots assist in the analysis of each unit. Comparison of the proposed “hybrid” micromixer with other obstacle-based planar micromixers demonstrates improved performance, indicating the combination of planar mixing units is a useful strategy for building high-performance micromixers.