Publication Details

Yuan, D., Zhang, J., Yan, S., Pan, C., Alici, G., Nguyen, N. T. & Li, W. H. (2015). Dean-flow-coupled elasto-inertial three-dimensional particle focusing under viscoelastic flow in a straight channel with asymmetrical expansion-contraction cavity arrays. Biomicrofluidics, 9 044108-1-044108-13.


In this paper, 3D particle focusing in a straight channel with asymmetrical expansion-contraction cavity arrays (ECCA channel) is achieved by exploiting the dean-flow-coupled elasto-inertial effects. First, the mechanism of particle focusing in both Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids was introduced. Then particle focusing was demonstrated experimentally in this channel with Newtonian and non- Newtonian fluids using three different sized particles (3.2 lm, 4.8 lm, and 13 lm), respectively. Also, the effects of dean flow (or secondary flow) induced by expansion- contraction cavity arrays were highlighted by comparing the particle distributions in a single straight rectangular channel with that in the ECCA channel. Finally, the influences of flow rates and distances from the inlet on focusing performance in the ECCA channel were studied. The results show that in the ECCA channel particles are focused on the cavity side in Newtonian fluid due to the synthesis effects of inertial and dean-drag force, whereas the particles are focused on the opposite cavity side in non-Newtonian fluid due to the addition of viscoelastic force. Compared with the focusing performance in Newtonian fluid, the particles are more easily and better focused in non-Newtonian fluid. Besides, the Dean flow in visco-elastic fluid in the ECCA channel improves the particle focusing performance compared with that in a straight channel. A further advantage is threedimensional (3D) particle focusing that in non-Newtonian fluid is realized according to the lateral side view of the channel while only two-dimensional (2D) particle focusing can be achieved in Newtonian fluid. Conclusively, this novel Dean-flowcoupled elasto-inertial microfluidic device could offer a continuous, sheathless, and high throughput (>10 000 s-1) 3D focusing performance, which may be valuable in various applications from high speed flow cytometry to cell counting, sorting, and analysis.



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