What is Microfluidics: Definition and 16 Discussions

Microfluidics refers to the behavior, precise control, and manipulation of fluids that are geometrically constrained to a small scale (typically sub-millimeter) at which surface forces dominate volumetric forces. It is a multidisciplinary field that involves engineering, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. It has practical applications in the design of systems that process low volumes of fluids to achieve multiplexing, automation, and high-throughput screening. Microfluidics emerged in the beginning of the 1980s and is used in the development of inkjet printheads, DNA chips, lab-on-a-chip technology, micro-propulsion, and micro-thermal technologies.
Typically, micro means one of the following features:

Small volumes (μL, nL, pL, fL)
Small size
Low energy consumption
Microdomain effectsTypically microfluidic systems transport, mix, separate, or otherwise process fluids. Various applications rely on passive fluid control using capillary forces, in the form of capillary flow modifying elements, akin to flow resistors and flow accelerators. In some applications, external actuation means are additionally used for a directed transport of the media. Examples are rotary drives applying centrifugal forces for the fluid transport on the passive chips. Active microfluidics refers to the defined manipulation of the working fluid by active (micro) components such as micropumps or microvalves. Micropumps supply fluids in a continuous manner or are used for dosing. Microvalves determine the flow direction or the mode of movement of pumped liquids. Often, processes normally carried out in a lab are miniaturised on a single chip, which enhances efficiency and mobility, and reduces sample and reagent volumes.

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  1. M

    Maximum number of microchannels in parallel for a syringe pump

    Basically, I want to determine how many microchannels I can have in parallel to drive a fluid (for now assume water),without the syringe pump stalling. Let's say a syringe pump have a maximum linear force of 50 lbf. and I want to drive the fluid at 60 ml/hr. So if I have 4 parallel channels...
  2. R

    Need help- calculating clearing of bubbles from a microfluidic channel

    Hi All, I need some help to figure out how to best go about setting-up and analyzing a micro-fluidics design problem I ran across in my research. It's not the typical single-surface contact angle adhesion kind of analysis. Basically, I have a wide micro-fluidic channel that's formed by a...
  3. Mohamed_Wael

    Particle-tracing inside a droplet simulation

    I have been simulating a 2D particle/droplet motion inside a larger emulsion using Comsol where the flow field inside the emulsion is calculated from a moving mesh laminar flow simulation. my problem is: I always get an undefined variable error " Variable: comp1.w" however this variable is the...
  4. C

    Microfluidics in pressures lower than one atmosphere

    Hi everyone I am trying to build an experiment with microfluidics. I have a reservoir containing a bellow. This bellow is a compensation mechanism and makes sure that the liquid (in this case water) can be pushed out of the reservoir. Before storing the fluid in the reservoir, the reservoir is...
  5. Talal

    Foam generation in microfluidics

    For an experiment I am running, I am trying to generate 80% foam quality in a 100 x 50 micron^2 channel. My question is, how can I achieve 80% quality dynamic foam ? I came across many papers that use Injection pressure ratio between gas and water. Other papers use flow rate ratios. I am a bit...
  6. B

    Velocity in microchannel with temporal temperature variation

    a microchannel of length 2L and width h in the thermal cycling region. the temperature profile ...(1) the cyclic temperature profile leads to a time dependent density ...(2) using the mass conservation equation i.e. ...(3) and momentum balance equation i.e. ...(4) we have to find the exact...
  7. T

    Microchannel Array etching in Stainless Steel Metal Search

    Hi All! Haven't been here for some time, the changes are looking good! Anyway, formalities aside, I am having serious problems sourcing and implementing a suitable stainless steel (Grade: 304; thickness: 0.3mm) substrate for my etching process. I'm currently working on developing a...
  8. P

    How can I accurately measure the density and volume of microdroplets in oil?

    I need to measure the density of aqueous microdroplets in oil. My first idea was to obtain a set volume of the droplet-in-oil mixture and weigh it to obtain the density, weigh the same volume of oil without droplets, then estimate the volume of the droplets so I can work out their density...
  9. A

    Career Opportunities in Microfluidics After PhD

    What are the career opportunities one can have except for research in academia after a PhD in Mircofluidics?
  10. S

    Diffusion distance (microfluidics)

    The diffusion distance for a Brownian particle is given as x^2 = 2Dt D: diffusion coeficient, t: time However, not all textbooks include the factor 2 (i.e. they just write x^2=DT). Is there a difference or are they just beeing sloppy? I run into trouble when I want to calculate the length of a...
  11. T

    Pressure and velocity calculation for microchannel. pls help

    Me and my friends have been trying (b) for soooo long! we have gone to PhD students and some fluid dynamic doctors for held and they cannot figure this out. 1. Homework Statement 2) This question concerns the design of a ‘micro-chemostat’ device. E. coli exhibiting chemotaxis can swim up to...
  12. N

    Microfluidics: asymmetric and symmetric t-junctions

    I have been looking on the web but I can't seem to find a textbook answer that describes the difference between microfluidic t-junctions that are symmetric and those that are asymmetric. From some papers I've gathered that you can make t-junctions asymmetric by changing the hydraulic resistance...
  13. K

    Career of someone with PhD in microfluidics

    Hello everybody, What kind of job (career) that someone with PhD in Physics (Microfluidics) can handle? I am interested in that field and i would like to know what kind of jobs i can do after i finish my PhD (Apart from post-doc). Thank you
  14. F

    Problem of current monitoring in microfluidics

    Hi! I want to characterize microfluidic device with nanochannels and i choosed to use current monitoring. The nanochannel is basically linking to resevoirs (microchannels with electrodes. At one electrodes I have the voltage and on the outlet of my chip I put a resistance. By mesuring the...
  15. A

    Simulating Microfluidic Flux with COMSOL: Choosing the Right Flow Regime

    Hi everybody! first of all congratulations for the forum, you have very interesting things here! This is the first time that I write a question, and I would be soooo pleased if anyone could help me. I am working with COMSOL multiphysics program, and I am trying to simulate the flux inside a...
  16. S

    Trying to understand microfluiditics [sp, microfluidics]

    Does anybody know what microfluiditics is? I need to research it for an assignment. Help needed