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Copyright Brian J. Kirby. With questions, contact Prof. Kirby here. This material may not be distributed without the author's consent. When linking to these pages, please use the URL http://www.kirbyresearch.com/textbook.

This web posting is a draft, abridged version of the Cambridge University Press text. Follow the links to buy at Cambridge or Amazon or Powell's or Barnes and Noble. Contact Prof. Kirby here. Click here for the most recent version of the errata for the print version.

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Jump To: [Kinematics] [Couette/Poiseuille Flow] [Fluid Circuits] [Mixing] [Electrodynamics] [Electroosmosis] [Potential Flow] [Stokes Flow] [Debye Layer] [Zeta Potential] [Species Transport] [Separations] [Particle Electrophoresis] [DNA] [Nanofluidics] [Induced-Charge Effects] [DEP] [Solution Chemistry]

8.2 Bounded Stokes flows [Stokes flow top]

For bounded flows (i.e., flows within finite domains), the Reynolds number that determines the applicability of the Stokes approximation uses a mean flow rate through a channel as the characteristic velocity and a channel diameter or depth as the characteristic length. In this section, we focus primarily on the Hele-Shaw solution, an analytical solution that applies to wide, shallow channels typical of many microfabrication processes.

8.2.1 Hele-Shaw flows

VIDEO: Hele-Shaw flows.

One flow configuration that is analytically tractable and relevant to microfluidic devices is the Hele-Shawcell. A Hele-Shaw cell consists of a domain with a small and uniform depth d in the z-dimension, and much larger dimensions in the x- and y-directions. Historically, these devices have been fabricated by bringing two flat plates close together, with spacers that served as obstacles for the flow. In micro- or nanofluidic devices, this geometry occurs naturally, since most microfabrication techniques involve etching a relatively shallow channel into a flat substrate and affixing a flat lid, resulting in a device with x- and y-dimensions ranging from 5 μm to 1 cm and a uniform z-dimension somewhere between 10 nm and 100 μm.

If the depth of the device is uniform and much smaller than the other dimensions, then it is reasonable to assume that p = p(x,y), in which case we can separate variables in microfluidics textbook nanofluidics textbook Brian Kirby Cornell, writing it as the product of a z-function and an xy-function. For a channel of depth d with walls at z = 0 and z = d, this leads to the solution

microfluidics textbook nanofluidics textbook Brian Kirby Cornell

At any given z, the velocity solution in the xy-plane corresponds to a 2D potential flow where the velocity potential is proportional to p. The same can be said for the z-averaged velocity. Hele-Shaw flows have no z-vorticity, and the streamlines in a Hele-Shaw flow are identical to the streamlines in a potential flow with the same geometry. However, the pressure distribution is different in the two cases. Along the z-axis, the flow has the parabolic distribution typical of pressure-driven flow between flat plates.

Computation of a Hele-Shaw flow requires that a 2D Laplace equation be solved for the pressure, at which point Equation 8.11 can be used to calculate the velocity field. An example of the streamlines for Hele-Shaw flow over an obstacle are shown in Figure 8.1.


microfluidics textbook nanofluidics textbook Brian Kirby CornellFigure 8.1: Hele-Shaw flow over a circular spacer. The velocity distribution, when viewed from the top, appears as a potential flow for all regions in which the distance from the sidewalls is large as compared to the depth.


8.2.2 Numerical solution of general bounded Stokes flow problems

For bounded flows, i.e., flows of fluid within solid walls, the solution approach used by engineers to predict the flow inside a microfluidic device is largely unchanged. Unless the solution is geometrically quite simple (as was the case in Chapter 2) such that direct integration provides a solution, Stokes flows in microchannels are typically solved using numerical techniques.

Some examples of our research where Stokes flow analysis is relevant include our circulating tumor cell capture microchips and our dielectrophoretic manipulation of microparticles.

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Jump To: [Kinematics] [Couette/Poiseuille Flow] [Fluid Circuits] [Mixing] [Electrodynamics] [Electroosmosis] [Potential Flow] [Stokes Flow] [Debye Layer] [Zeta Potential] [Species Transport] [Separations] [Particle Electrophoresis] [DNA] [Nanofluidics] [Induced-Charge Effects] [DEP] [Solution Chemistry]

Copyright Brian J. Kirby. Please contact Prof. Kirby here with questions or corrections. This material may not be distributed without the author's consent. When linking to these pages, please use the URL http://www.kirbyresearch.com/textbook.

This web posting is a draft, abridged version of the Cambridge University Press text. Follow the links to buy at Cambridge or Amazon or Powell's or Barnes and Noble. Contact Prof. Kirby here. Click here for the most recent version of the errata for the print version.


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