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Title: Elasto-Inertial Focusing Mechanisms of Particles in Shear-Thinning Viscoelastic Fluid in Rectangular Microchannels
Growth of the microfluidics field has triggered numerous advances in focusing and separating microparticles, with such systems rapidly finding applications in biomedical, chemical, and environmental fields. The use of shear-thinning viscoelastic fluids in microfluidic channels is leading to evolution of elasto-inertial focusing. Herein, we showed that the interplay between the elastic and shear-gradient lift forces, as well as the secondary flow transversal drag force that is caused by the non-zero second normal stress difference, lead to different particle focusing patterns in the elasto-inertial regime. Experiments and 3D simulations were performed to study the effects of flowrate, particle size, and the shear-thinning extent of the fluid on the focusing patterns. The Giesekus constitutive equation was used in the simulations to capture the shear-thinning and viscoelastic behaviors of the solution used in the experiments. At low flowrate, with Weissenberg number Wi ~ O(1), both the elastic force and secondary flow effects push particles towards the channel center. However, at a high flowrate, Wi ~ O(10), the elastic force direction is reversed in the central regions. This remarkable behavior of the elastic force, combined with the enhanced shear-gradient lift at the high flowrate, pushes particles away from the channel center. Additionally, a precise prediction of more » the focusing position can only be made when the shear-thinning extent of the fluid is correctly estimated in the modeling. The shear-thinning also gives rise to the unique behavior of the inertial forces near the channel walls which is linked with the ‘warped’ velocity profile in such fluids. « less
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1841509 1841473
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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