Hydraulic circuit systems lead to algebraic systems of equations that can be solved directly using symbolic or matrix
manipulation software. Given the hydraulic impedances of the channels, the unknowns are the pressures at the N
nodes, and the flowrates in the M channels. The N equations from conservation of mass at each node and M
equations from theHagen-Poiseuille law for each channel define the system. Thus, a N +M×N +M matrix
equation can be written and inverted to obtain the solution.
VIDEO: Matrix formalism for solving the Hagen-Poiseuille law for channel networks.
If the channels are all purely resistive, then
the pressure and flowrate phasors are real. If the channels include compliance, then the pressure and
flowrate phasors are complex and the angle of the complex numbers describes the phase lag of the
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ EXAMPLE PROBLEM 3.2:Calculate the hydraulic radius of
a glass channel made using photoresist lithographically patterned to width w = 240 μm and etched
isotropically in HF to a depth of d = 30 μm.
a channel cast in polydimethylsiloxane made by patterning SU-8 molds of width w = 40 μm and
depth d = 30 μm and casting the PDMS over the SU-8 mold.
Note that isotropic etches lead to microchannel cross sections consisting of circular side walls and flat top and
bottom surfaces, while casting over SU-8 makes roughly rectangular channel cross-sections (see
Figure 3.9: Shapes of channels based on (a) wet etching of glass using HF and (b) casting over an SU-8
Note that for circular channels, rh= r. For infinitely flat plates separated by d, rh= d. The rectangular section
has a hydraulic radius approximately equal to half the length of the sides, while the isotropically etched channel,
because it is wide, starts to approach rh= d.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ EXAMPLE PROBLEM 3.3:
Consider the fluid circuit shown in Figure 3.10. Write the 7 equations in the unknowns p1, p2, p3, p4, Q1, Q2,
Q3. Three of these equations are given by the problem statement, one is conservation of mass, and three are
Hagen-Poiseuille relations. Write these equations as a matrix equation. Invert the matrix to solve the system for the 7
Figure 3.10: A simple fluid circuit. All channels are circular in cross-section with radius R = 20 μm.
L1= 0.5cm, L2= 1cm, and L3= 2cm. Pressures at the ports are p1= 0.11MPa, p3= 0.1MPa, and
p4= 0.1MPa. The fluid is water, with viscosity 1×10-3Pas.
First we must solve for the hydraulic resistance of the three channels, using Rh= 8ηL∕πR4. This gives hydraulic
resistances of 7.96×1013, 1.59×1014, and 3.18×1014N∕sm5 for the three channels.
The seven equations are
In matrix form, this is
The solution is p2= 0.1057MPa, Q1= 54×10-12m3∕s, Q2= 36×10-12m3∕s, and Q3= 18×10-12m3∕s.