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Thermocapillary-driven fluid flow within microchannels




Surface tension gradients induce Marangoni flow, which may be exploited for fluid transport. At the micrometer scale, these surface-driven flows can be more significant than those driven by pressure. By introducing fluid-fluid interfaces on the walls of microfluidic channels, we use surface tension gradients to drive bulk fluid flows. The gradients are specifically induced through thermal energy, exploiting the temperature dependence of a fluid-fluid interface to generate thermocapillary flow. In this report, we provide the design concept for a biocompatible, thermocapillary microchannel capable of being powered by solar irradiation. Using temperature gradients on the order of degrees Celsius per centimeter, we achieve fluid velocities on the order of millimeters per second. Following experimental observations, fluid dynamic models, and numerical simulation, we find that the fluid velocity is linearly proportional to the provided temperature gradient, enabling full control of the fluid flow within the microchannels.

Author(s): Guillermo J Amador and Ahmet Fatih Tabak and Ziyu Ren and Yunus Alapan and Oncay Yasa and Metin Sitti
Journal: ArXiv e-prints
Year: 2018
Month: Febuary
Day: 1

Department(s): Physical Intelligence
Research Project(s): Thermocapillary-driven micropumps
Bibtex Type: Article (article)

Eprint: 1802.00475
URL: https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.00475


  title = {Thermocapillary-driven fluid flow within microchannels},
  author = {Amador, Guillermo J and Tabak, Ahmet Fatih and Ren, Ziyu and Alapan, Yunus and Yasa, Oncay and Sitti, Metin},
  journal = {ArXiv e-prints},
  month = feb,
  year = {2018},
  eprint = {1802.00475},
  url = {https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.00475},
  month_numeric = {2}