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Lab Chip. 2006 Dec;6(12):1487-503. Epub 2006 Sep 27.

Multiphase microfluidics: from flow characteristics to chemical and materials synthesis.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT, 66-501, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Erratum in

  • Lab Chip. 2007 Jul;7(7):935.
  • Lab Chip. 2007 Mar;7(3):399.


We review transport characteristics of pressure-driven, multiphase flows through microchannel networks tens of nanometres to several hundred of micrometres wide with emphasis on conditions resulting in enhanced mixing and reduced axial dispersion. Dimensionless scaling parameters useful in characterizing multiphase flows are summarized along with experimental flow visualization techniques. Static and dynamic stability considerations are also included along with methods for stabilizing multiphase flows through surface modifications. Observed gas-liquid and immiscible liquid-liquid flows are summarized in terms of flow regime diagrams and the different flows are related to applications in chemistry and materials synthesis. Means to completely separate multiphase flows on the microscale and guidelines for design of scalable multiphase systems are also discussed.


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