Numerical Investigation of Droplet Generation in Microfluidic Flow-Focusing Devices
Arash Dalili a, Katherine Elvira a
a Department of Chemistry, University of Victoria, Canada.
Proceedings of Emerging Investigators in Microfluidics Conference (EIMC)
Online, Spain, 2021 July 20th - 21st
Organizers: Adrian Nightingale, Darius Rackus and Claire Stanley
Poster, Arash Dalili, 047
Publication date: 5th July 2021

Miniaturized and low-cost lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices, which take advantage of the microfluidic technology, offer parallelization and eliminate human error. Droplet generation is among one the many applications of these devices. The microfluidic technology offers unique control on a micro-scale, which leads to precise control over the size and shape of droplets compared to macro-scale methods. Among the several microfluidic droplet generation approaches, flow-focusing devices are one of the most common ones. Certain applications require specific droplet sizes, which is a factor of several operational and geometrical parameters. Among the operational parameters are the mechanical properties as well as the flow rate ratio of the continuous and disperse phases. Some of the effective geometrical parameters are the intersection angle, the width of the pinched section, and the width of the main chamber. In this study, we used a two-phase level set method in COMSOL Multiphysics® to numerically investigate the process of the formation of the droplets. Two-dimensional simulations were carried out for FC40 droplets generation in an aqueous ambient. The numerical model was validated by comparing it with experimental results. We aim to investigate the effect of several geometrical factors on the size of the droplets. The results of this study can provide insight for future attempts to generate micron seized micro-spheres using microfluidic technology.

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