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Anal Chem. 2002 Aug 15;74(16):4279-86.

Mixing processes in a zigzag microchannel: finite element simulations and optical study.

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Laboratoire d'Electrochimie Physique et Analytique, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.


A finite element model has been used in order to study the mixing process of species in a 100-microm-wide zigzag microchannel integrating a "Y" inlet junction. The distribution of the concentration was obtained by solving successively the Navier-Stokes equation and the diffusion-convection equation in the steady state form. Because of the large range of Reynolds numbers studied (1 < Re < 800), the 2D diffusion-convection simulations are carried out with high diffusion coefficients. The results illustrated the effects of both flow rate and channel geometry on hydrodynamics and mixing efficiency. Below a critical Reynolds number of approximately 80, the mixing is entirely ensured by molecular diffusion. For higher Reynolds numbers, simulations revealed the mixing contribution of laminar flow recirculations. This effect increases for lower values of diffusion coefficients. Experimental studies on the mixing of species at different flow rates are reported showing the same hydrodynamic tendency.

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