Numerical investigation into the mixing performance of micro T-mixers with different patterns of obstacles
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Microsystems are made up of components < 100 μm in size. At this size range, the flow of substances typically experiences a laminar behavior with the Stokes flow condition (Re < 1). To the mixing operation, diffusion dominates the mixing, which further leads to the problem of the increased length of microchannel (mixing length for short) and increased length of time. Development of a new principle of mixing, which may increase the mixing efficiency, will be useful to alleviate this problem. There are two directions of measures for new principles: passive and active. In short, the passive principle is related to designing the structure of the mixer, while the active principle is to additional sources of energy for mixing. The mixing efficiency plays a significant role in designing micromixers as the most essential parts of lab-on-chip (LoC), because increasing this index can result in reducing mixing length so that not only it is cost-efficient but also it helps to miniaturize the LoC devices, but achieving adequate mixing performance in simple geometries is a serious challenge. This paper presents a study of the optimal design of a passive micro T-mixer, which consists of the prescribed patterns of barriers and furrows with different geometries. Simulation with COMSOL was taken to conduct this study. The study concluded that the mixing efficiency can be improved by at least 25%; as well the mixing length can be improved. Additionally, the role of the diffusion coefficient was examined, leading to the finding that a greater diffusion coefficient could result in a shorter length of microchannel for the same mixing efficiency. This finding is in agreement with the general theory of diffusion in laminar fluids.
KeywordsMicromixers COMSOL multiphysics Low Reynolds number Furrowed micro T-mixer Barriers Mixing efficiency
List of symbols
Cross-sectional area (m2)
Concentration of reagents (mol/m3)
Diffusion coefficient (m2/s)
Mole fraction (–)
Diffusion (mol/s m2)
Identity matrix (–)
Microchannel length (m)
Mixing efficiency index (%)
Change of concentration rate (mol/s m3)
Viscosity (Pa s)
Standard deviation (–)
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Department of Mechanical at the University of Saskatchewan for providing us the research facilities. As well, the research is made possible to the first author by the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship.
This research work is not supported by any funding agency.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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