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Lab Chip. 2011 Jun 21;11(12):2055-9. doi: 10.1039/c1lc20259f. Epub 2011 May 17.

Systematic investigation of droplet generation at T-junctions.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1700, USA.


Droplet microfluidics has attracted much attention in recent years. For many droplet-based applications, researchers want to predict the size of the droplets in a certain experimental condition. To meet this need, van Steijn and colleagues proposed an elegant theoretical model that predicts the volume of droplets generated in a common channel configuration for forming a steady-state, continuous stream of droplets, the T-junction geometry. To determine the accuracy of this model in predicting droplet volume, we performed a systematic experimental study over two orders of magnitude in capillary number. We found that this model, albeit elegant, has a limited range of interfacial tension over which it can predict accurately the droplet volume. Our experimental results, together with fluid dynamic simulations, allowed us to highlight the importance of physical fluid properties when employing theoretical models.

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