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Engineering of Droplet Manipulation in Tertiary Junction Microfluidic Channels

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Technical Report,14 May 2015,13 Nov 2016

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Indian Institute Of Technology Delhi New Delhi India

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We have carried out an experimental and in silico investigation of path selection by a single droplet inside a tertiary junction microchannel using oil-in-water as a model system. The droplet was generated at a T-junction inside a microfluidic chip and its flow behaviour as a function of droplet size, streamline position, viscosity, and Reynolds number Re of the continuous phase was studied downstream at a tertiary junction having perpendicular channels of uniform square cross-section and internal fluidic resistance proportional to their lengths. Numerical studies were performed using the multicomponent lattice-Boltzmann method LBM. Both the experimental and numerical results showed good agreement and suggested that at higher Re equal to 3, the flow was dominated by inertial forces resulting in the droplets choosing a path based on their center position in the flow streamline. At 10x lower Re, the streamline assisted path selection became drag-force assisted above a critical droplet size. As the Re was further reduced to 0.03, or when the viscosity of the dispersed phase was increased, the critical droplet size for transition also decreased. This multivariate approach can in future be used to engineer sorting of cells, e.g. circulating tumor cells CTCs allowing early-stage detection of life-threatening diseases.

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  • Fluidics and Fluerics

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