Even though the research interest in the last decades has been mainly focused on the capsule dynamics in cylindrical or rectangular ducts, channels with asymmetric cross-sections may also be desirable especially for capsule migration and sorting. Therefore, in the present study we investigate computationally the motion of an elastic spherical capsule in an isosceles trapezoidal microchannel at low and moderate flow rates under the Stokes regime. The steady-state capsule location is quite close to the location where the single-phase velocity of the surrounding fluid is maximized. Owing to the asymmetry of the trapezoidal channel, the capsule’s steady-state shape is asymmetric while its membrane slowly tank-treads. In addition, our investigation reveals that tall trapezoidal channels with low base ratios produce significant off-center migration for large capsules compared to that for smaller capsules for a given channel length. Thus, we propose a microdevice for the sorting of artificial and physiological capsules based on their size, by utilizing tall trapezoidal microchannels with low base ratios. The proposed sorting microdevice can be readily produced via glass fabrication or as a microfluidic device via micromilling, while the required flow conditions do not cause membrane rupture.
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