By: Manuel Alves and Mónica Oliveira
At: Instituto de Investigação Interdisciplinar, Anfiteatro
In this talk we discuss the use of microfluidics to investigate complex flows of non-Newtonian fluids with viscoelastic behaviour.
In the first part of the talk, we introduce the basic concepts of microfluidics, followed by an overview of our experimental research on complex fluid flows at the microscale. Our research relies on taking advantage of the low Reynolds number flows and enhanced elastic effects achieved in microfluidics and include the development of efficient microfluidic rectifiers; the use of microfluidic hyperbolic contractions to probe the elasticity of complex fluids, including blood analogues; elastic instabilities in several microfluidic geometries (e.g. cross slots, flow focusing devices, abrupt contractions) and efficient mixing in low Reynolds number flows.
The second part of the talk focus on the numerical simulation of complex fluids in microfluidic devices. Several examples will be presented, where the complex nature of the flow at the microscale is successfully predicted numerically. The talk ends with the description of an optimal shape design methodology and illustration of a number of test-cases in which the shape of the microfluidic devices was obtained numerically in order to achieve optimal performance.