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Open AccessArticle

Numerical Simulation and Experimental Validation of Liquid Metal Droplet Formation in a Co-Flowing Capillary Microfluidic Device

1
School of Mechatronics Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, West Da-zhi Street 92, Harbin 150001, China
2
School of Mechatronics Engineering, Qiqihar University, Wenhua Street 42, Qiqihar 161006, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2020, 11(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11020169
Received: 7 January 2020 / Revised: 17 January 2020 / Accepted: 21 January 2020 / Published: 5 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Droplet Microfluidics)
A two-phase flow axisymmetric numerical model was proposed to understand liquid metal droplet formation in a co-flowing capillary microfluidics device based on a phase field model. The droplet detachment processes were observed in the experiment and are in good agreement with the simulation method. The effects of the viscosities and flowrates of the continuous phase fluid, interfacial tension as well as the wetting property of the metallic needle against the bulk liquid metal on the droplet formation and production rate were numerically investigated. It was found that the droplet diameter decreased with the increment of the viscosities and flowrates of the outer phase carrier fluid. The dispersed phase fluid with high interfacial tension tended to prolong the time for equilibrium between the viscous drag force and interfacial tension on the liquid–liquid fluid surface, delaying the droplet to be pinched off from the capillary orifice and causing large droplet diameter. Finally, the wetting performance of the metallic needle against the liquid metal was explored. The result indicate that the droplet diameter became less dependent on the contact angle while the size distribution of the liquid metal droplet was affected by their wetting performance. A more hydrophilic wetting performance were expected to prepare liquid metal droplet with more monodispersity. The numerical model and simulation results provide the feasibility of predicting the droplet formation with a high surface tension in a glass capillary microfluidic device. View Full-Text
Keywords: droplet formation; phase field model; interfacial tension; glass capillary microfluidic device droplet formation; phase field model; interfacial tension; glass capillary microfluidic device
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hu, Q.; Jiang, T.; Jiang, H. Numerical Simulation and Experimental Validation of Liquid Metal Droplet Formation in a Co-Flowing Capillary Microfluidic Device. Micromachines 2020, 11, 169.

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