A comprehensive review on liquid–liquid two-phase flow in microchannel: flow pattern and mass transfer

  • Jin-yuan QianEmail author
  • Xiao-juan Li
  • Zan Wu
  • Zhi-jiang Jin
  • Bengt Sunden


Liquid–liquid two-phase flow in microchannel is very common in micro-chemical and micro-biological system, etc. Deep understanding of the liquid–liquid two-phase flow mechanisms and mass transfer in microchannel can promote industrial applications significantly. To summarize the recent research progress on the liquid–liquid two-phase flow in microchannel, this paper collects research work about this topic, especially focusing on flow pattern and mass transfer. To begin with, flow patterns observed in various conditions are identified and factors which influence the flow patterns are analyzed. Then, mass transfer in liquid–liquid two-phase flow is discussed, especially the mass transfer during droplet flow, with both experiments and simulations. Furthermore, energy dissipation involved in liquid–liquid two-phase flow in microchannel is also briefly discussed. Finally, future needs are proposed for extending the researches on liquid–liquid two-phase flow and enlarging its application fields.


Flow pattern Mass transfer efficiency Energy dissipation Liquid–liquid two-phase flow Microchannel 

List of symbols


Concentration of solute


Arbitrary node concentration of the scalar


Standard deviation

\( \bar{C} \)

Concentration which the mixing is achieving at ideal condition

\( \left\langle C \right\rangle \)

Statistical average value of the normalized concentration in the analyzed droplet


Equilibrium concentration of solute


Capillary number


Constant, i = 1, 2,3, …


Hydraulic diameter


Channel depth or film thickness


Intensity of segregation


Overall volumetric mass transfer coefficient


Droplet length


Droplet unit length


Mixing index


Number of the nodes in the analyzed droplet


Flow rate of the dispersed phase


Flow rate of the continuous phase


Radius of droplet cap


Reynolds number


Velocity of the continuous phase


Velocity of the dispersed phase


Droplet velocity


Continuous phase channel width


Dispersed phase channel width


Weber number

Greek symbols


Dispersed phase length fraction


Dimensionless surface roughness


Dispersed phase fraction


Viscosity ratio of the dispersed phase to the continuous phase




Contact angle




Interfacial tension


Residence time


Flow rate ratio of the dispersed phase to the continuous phase


Ratio of channel depth to the continuous phase channel width


Ratio of the dispersed phase channel width to the continuous channel width


Dimensionless interfacial tension



Aqueous phase


Continuous phase


Dispersed phase


Ionic liquid


Kerosene phase


Moving film


Organic phase


Stagnant film


With fim


Without film


Water phase



This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China through Grant No. 51805470, the Youth Funds of the State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power and Mechatronic Systems (Zhejiang University) through Grant No. SKLoFP-QN-1801, and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities through Grant No. 2018QNA4013.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Process Equipment, College of Energy EngineeringZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Fluid Power and Mechatronic SystemsZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Energy SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden

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