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A Microfluidic Rectifier: Anisotropic Flow Resistance at Low Reynolds Numbers

Groisman, Alex and Quake, Stephen R. (2004) A Microfluidic Rectifier: Anisotropic Flow Resistance at Low Reynolds Numbers. Physical Review Letters, 92 (9). Art. No. 094501. ISSN 0031-9007. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.92.094501.

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It is one of the basic concepts of Newtonian fluid dynamics that at low Reynolds number (Re) the Navier-Stokes equation is linear and flows are reversible. In microfluidic devices, where Re is essentially always low, this implies that flow resistance in microchannels is isotropic. Here we present a microfluidic rectifier: a microscopic channel of a special shape whose flow resistance is strongly anisotropic, differing by up to a factor of 2 for opposite flow directions. Its nonlinear operation at arbitrary small Re is due to non-Newtonian elastic properties of the working fluid, which is a 0.01% aqueous solution of a high molecular weight polymer. The rectifier works as a dynamic valve and may find applications in microfluidic pumps and other integrated devices.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:©2004 The American Physical Society (Received 17 September 2003; published 4 March 2004)
Subject Keywords:microfluidics; Navier-Stokes equations; channel flow; non-Newtonian flow; polymer solutions; vortices; valves
Issue or Number:9
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:GROprl04
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:6870
Deposited By: Archive Administrator
Deposited On:30 Dec 2006
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 20:37

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