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[Scientific Report]Dean Flow Dynamics in Low-Aspect Ratio Spiral Microchannels


A wide range of microfluidic cell-sorting devices has emerged in recent years, based on both passive and active methods of separation. Curvilinear channel geometries are often used in these systems due to presence of secondary flows, which can provide high throughput and sorting efficiency. Most of these devices are designed on the assumption of two counter rotating Dean vortices present in the curved rectangular channels and existing in the state of steady rotation and amplitude. In this work, we investigate these secondary flows in low aspect ratio spiral rectangular microchannels and define their development with respect to the channel aspect ratio and Dean number. This work is the first to experimentally and numerically investigate Dean flows in microchannels for Re > 100, and show presence of secondary Dean vortices beyond a critical Dean number. We further demonstrate the impact of these multiple vortices on particle and cell focusing. Ultimately, this work offers new insights into secondary flow instabilities for low-aspect ratio, spiral microchannels, with improved flow models for design of more precise and efficient microfluidic devices for applications such as cell sorting and micromixing.

Nivedita Nivedita, Phillip Ligrani & Ian Papautsky

Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 44072 (2017) doi:10.1038/srep44072

Link: http://www.nature.com/articles/srep44072

#03152017 #deanflow #physics #labonachip #cellsorting

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