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Langmuir. 2005 Feb 15;21(4):1547-55.

Micromixing of miscible liquids in segmented gas-liquid flow.

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Department of Chemical Engineering and Microsystems Technology Laboratories, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


We present an integrated microfluidic system that achieves efficient mixing between two miscible liquid streams by introducing a gas phase, forming a segmented gas-liquid (slug) flow, and completely separating the mixed liquid and gas streams in a planar capillary separator. The recirculation motion associated with segmented flow enhances advection in straight microchannels without requiring additional fabrication steps. Instantaneous velocity fields are quantified by microscopic particle image velocimetry (muPIV). Velocities in the direction normal to the channel amount to approximately 30% of the bulk liquid velocity inside a liquid segment. This value depends only weakly on the length of a liquid segment. Spatial concentration fields and the extent of mixing (EOM) are obtained from pulsed-laser fluorescence microscopy and confocal scanning microscopy measurements. The mixing length is reduced 2-3-fold in comparison with previously reported chaotic micromixers that use three-dimensional microchannel networks or patterned walls. Segmented gas-liquid microflows allow mixing times to be varied over several orders of magnitude between milliseconds and second time scales.


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