Capillary filling at the microscale: Control of fluid front using geometry

C. Trejo-Soto, E. Costa-Miracle, I. Rodriguez-Villarreal, J. Cid, T. Alarcón, Aurora Hernández-Machado

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    © 2016 Trejo-Soto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. We propose an experimental and theoretical framework for the study of capillary filling at the micro-scale. Our methodology enables us to control the fluid flow regime so that we can characterise properties of Newtonian fluids such as their viscosity. In particular, we study a viscous, non-inertial, non-Washburn regime in which the position of the fluid front increases linearly with time for the whole duration of the experiment. The operating shear-rate range of our apparatus extends over nearly two orders of magnitude. Further, we analyse the advancement of a fluid front within a microcapillary in a system of two immiscible Newtonian liquids. We observe a non-Washburn regime in which the front can accelerate or decelerate depending on the viscosity contrast between the two liquids. We then propose a theoretical model which enables us to study and explain both non-Washburn regimes. Furthermore, our theoretical model allows us to put forward ways to control the emergence of these regimes by means of geometrical parameters of the experimental set-up. Our methodology allows us to design and calibrate a micro-viscosimetre which works at constant pressure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0153559
    JournalPloS one
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


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