Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

October 2003


Postprint version. Published in International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, Volume 24, Issue 5, October 2003, pages 645-656.
Publisher URL:


The absence of turbulence and the difficulty associated with introducing moving components into microfluidic systems make the mixing problem in microdevices challenging. We studied steady, laminar, incompressible flow through a sequence of conduits with rectangular cross-sections aligned to form 90o with each other. The feasibility of taking advantage of bend-induced vortices to stir the fluid and enhance the mixing process was evaluated theoretically and experimentally. Since at very low Reynolds numbers the bend-induced vortices decay rapidly, it was necessary to utilize a large number of bends to achieve the desired effects. Since it is not practical to directly simulate the flow through a large number of bends, we borrowed Jones et. al.'s (1989) idea of constructing a two-dimensional map to project fluid particles from a cross-section upstream of the bend to a cross-section downstream of the bend. This map was then applied repetitively to trace particle trajectories in various bend arrangements. Under certain conditions, chaotic advection was predicted. A prototype of a stirrer was fabricated with low temperature co-fired ceramic tapes.


microfluidics, chaotic advection, mixing, stirrer, laboratory on a chip, micro total analysis



Date Posted: 27 November 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.