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Micromachines 2015, 6(12), 1825-1835; doi:10.3390/mi6121458

Generation of Oil Droplets in a Non-Newtonian Liquid Using a Microfluidic T-Junction

1
Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia “G. Galilei”, Università di Padova, via Marzolo 8, 35131 Padova, Italy
2
Departamento de Química, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte 31270-901, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andrew deMello and Xavier Casadevall i Solvas
Received: 28 September 2015 / Revised: 20 November 2015 / Accepted: 23 November 2015 / Published: 30 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet Microfluidics: Techniques and Technologies)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1938 KB, uploaded 30 November 2015]   |  

Abstract

We have compared the formation of oil drops in Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids in a T-junction microfluidic device. As Newtonian fluids, we used aqueous solutions of glycerol, while as non-Newtonian fluids we prepared aqueous solutions of xanthan, a stiff rod-like polysaccharide, which exhibit strong shear-thinning effects. In the squeezing regime, the formation of oil droplets in glycerol solutions is found to scale with the ratio of the dispersed flow rate to the continuous one and with the capillary number associated to the continuous phase. Switching to xanthan solutions does not seem to significantly alter the droplet formation process. Any quantitative difference with respect to the Newtonian liquid can be accounted for by a suitable choice of the capillary number, corresponding to an effective xanthan viscosity that depends on the flow rates. We have deduced ample variations in the viscosity, on the order of 10 and more, during normal operation conditions of the T-junction. This allowed estimating the actual shear rates experienced by the xanthan solutions, which go from tens to hundreds of s−1. View Full-Text
Keywords: droplet microfluidics; T-junction; squeezing regime; non-Newtonian fluids; matrix viscoelasticity; xanthan solutions; shear-thinning droplet microfluidics; T-junction; squeezing regime; non-Newtonian fluids; matrix viscoelasticity; xanthan solutions; shear-thinning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chiarello, E.; Derzsi, L.; Pierno, M.; Mistura, G.; Piccin, E. Generation of Oil Droplets in a Non-Newtonian Liquid Using a Microfluidic T-Junction. Micromachines 2015, 6, 1825-1835.

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