• Non-Newtonian Droplet Generation in a Cross-Junction Microfluidic Channel

      Fatehifar, Maryam; orcid: 0000-0002-8770-729X; email: maryam.fatehifar@postgrad.manchester.ac.uk; Revell, Alistair; orcid: 0000-0001-7435-1506; email: alistair.revell@manchester.ac.uk; Jabbari, Masoud; orcid: 0000-0003-3615-969X; email: m.jabbari@manchester.ac.uk (MDPI, 2021-06-09)
      A two-dimensional CFD model based on volume-of-fluid (VOF) is introduced to examine droplet generation in a cross-junction microfluidic using an open-source software, OpenFOAM together with an interFoam solver. Non-Newtonian power-law droplets in Newtonian liquid is numerically studied and its effect on droplet size and detachment time in three different regimes, i.e., squeezing, dripping and jetting, are investigated. To understand the droplet formation mechanism, the shear-thinning behaviour was enhanced by increasing the polymer concentrations in the dispersed phase. It is observed that by choosing a shear-dependent fluid, droplet size decreases compared to Newtonian fluids while detachment time increases due to higher apparent viscosity. Moreover, the rheological parameters—n and K in the power-law model—impose a considerable effect on the droplet size and detachment time, especially in the dripping and jetting regimes. Those parameters also have the potential to change the formation regime if the capillary number (Ca) is high enough. This work extends the understanding of non-Newtonian droplet formation in microfluidics to control the droplet characteristics in applications involving shear-thinning polymeric solutions.