Modelling and simulation of the behaviour of a biofluid in a microchannel biochip separator

Xiangdong Xue, Mayur K. Patel, Maiwenn Kersaudy-Kerhoas, Chris Bailey, Marc P. Y. Desmulliez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports an investigation into the flow behaviour of a biofluid in a microchannel systems through conceptual analysis and modelling. The application is the design of a microfluidic chip developed for the separation of plasma from blood. The effect of key design features of the microchannels on the flow behaviour of the biofluid is explored. These include geometric features such as the constriction, bending channel, bifurcation and the channel length ratio between the main and side channels. The performance of each design is discussed in terms of separation efficiency of the red blood cells with respect to the rest of the medium. Particular phenomena such as the Fahraeus and Fahraeus-Lindqvist effects, the Zweifach-Fung bifurcation law and the cell-free layer are discussed. In this paper, the fluid is modelled as a single-phase flow assuming either Newtonian or Non-Newtonian behaviour to investigate the effect of the fluid viscosity on both flow and separation efficiency. For a flow rate-controlled Newtonian flow system, it is found that viscosity and outlet pressure have little effect on the velocity distribution through each of the microchannels. For a diluted fluid where the flow in the whole channel system is modelled with a uniform viscosity, less plasma is separated from blood than observed in the non-Newtonian case. This results in an increase in the flow rate ratio between the main and side channels. A comparison of Newtonian and non-Newtonian flows shows that both flows tend to behave identically with an increase in the shear strain rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-560
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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