Effect of Fluid Properties on Droplet Generation in a Microfluidic T-Junction

Katerina Loizou, Voon Loong Wong, Wim Thielemans, Buddhika N. Hewakandamby

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, significant work has been performed in an attempt to quantify the effect of different parameters such as flowrate, geometrical and fluid characteristics on the droplet break up mechanism in microfluidic T-Junctions. This demand is dictated by the need of tight control of the size and dispersity of the droplets generated in such geometries. Even though several researchers have investigated the effect of viscosity ratio on both the droplet break up mechanism as well as on the regime transition, fluid properties have not been included in most scaling laws. It is therefore evident that the contribution of fluid properties has not been quantified thoroughly. In the present work, the effect of fluid properties on the volume of droplets generated in a microfluidic T-junction is investigated. The main aim of this work is to examine the influence of viscosity of both the dispersed and continuous phase as well as the effect of interfacial tension on the size of droplet generated along with the break up mechanism. Three different oils have been utilised as continuous phase in this work to enable investigation of the effect of viscosity of the continuous phase with experiments performed at constant Capillary numbers. Various glycerol weight percentages have been employed to vary the viscosity of the dispersed phase fluid (water). Lastly, the effect of interfacial tension has been explored using two of the oils at constant μcUc (viscous force term). High speed imaging has been utilised to visualise and measure the volume of the resulting droplets. The viscosity ratio (viscosity of dispersed phase over viscosity of continuous phase) between the two phases appears to affect the droplet generation mechanism, especially for the highest viscosity ratio employed (mineral oil-water system) where the system behaves in a noticeably different way. Influence of interfacial tension is also noticeable even though less evident. In terms of the effect of viscosity of dispersed phase on the droplet generation a small difference on the volume of the droplets generated in olive oil glycerol systems is also reported. In an attempt to enumerate the effect of fluid properties on the droplet generation mechanism in a microfluidic T-junction, this paper will present supporting evidence in detail on the above and a comparison of the findings with the existing theories.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationASME 2014 4th Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
PublisherAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-0-7918-4626-1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2014


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