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Novel preparation of monodisperse microbubbles by integrating oscillating electric fields with microfluidics

Kothandaraman, A; Harker, A; Ventikos, Y; Edirisinghe, M; (2018) Novel preparation of monodisperse microbubbles by integrating oscillating electric fields with microfluidics. Micromachines , 9 (10) , Article 497. 10.3390/mi9100497. Green open access

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Abstract

Microbubbles generated by microfluidic techniques have gained substantial interest in various industries such as cosmetics, food engineering, and the biomedical field. The microfluidic T-junction provides exquisite control over processing parameters, however, it relies on pressure driven flows only; therefore, bubble size variation is limited especially for viscous solutions. A novel set-up to superimpose an alternating current (AC) oscillation onto a direct current (DC) field is invented in this work, capitalising on the possibility to excite bubble resonance phenomenon and properties, and introducing relevant parameters such as frequency, AC voltage, and waveform to further control bubble size. A capillary embedded T-junction microfluidic device fitted with a stainless-steel capillary was utilised for microbubble formation. Furthermore, a numerical model of the T-junction was developed by integrating the volume of fluid (VOF) method with the electric module; simulation results were attained for the formation of the microbubbles with a particular focus on the flow fields along the detachment of the emerging bubble. Two main types of experiments were conducted in this framework: the first was to test the effect of applied AC voltage magnitude and the second was to vary the applied frequency. Experimental results indicated that higher frequencies have a pronounced effect on the bubble diameter within the 100 Hz and 2.2 kHz range, whereas elevated AC voltages tend to promote bubble elongation and growth. Computational results suggest there is a uniform velocity field distribution along the bubble upon application of a superimposed field and that microbubble detachment is facilitated by the recirculation of the dispersed phase. Furthermore, an ideal range of parameters exists to tailor monodisperse bubble size for specific applications.

Type: Article
Title: Novel preparation of monodisperse microbubbles by integrating oscillating electric fields with microfluidics
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/mi9100497
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/mi9100497
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Microfluidics; superimposed electric fields; microbubbles; CFD
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Mechanical Engineering
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Physics and Astronomy
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10059540
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