Fluid rheological effects on particle migration in a straight rectangular microchannel

  • Di Li
  • Xiangchun Xuan
Research Paper


There has recently been a significantly increasing interest in the passive manipulation of particles in the flow of non-Newtonian fluids through microchannels. However, an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the various fluid rheological effects on particle migration is still largely missing. We present in this work a systematic experimental study of both the individual and the combined effects of fluid inertia, elasticity, and shear thinning on the motion of rigid spherical particles in a straight rectangular microchannel. We first study the sole effect of each of these rheological properties in a Newtonian fluid, purely elastic (i.e., Boger) fluid, and purely shear-thinning (i.e., pseudoplastic) fluid, respectively. We then study the combined effects of two or all of these rheological properties in a pseudoplastic fluid and two types of elastic shear-thinning fluids, respectively. We find that the fluid elasticity effect directs particles toward the centerline of the channel while the fluid shear-thinning effect causes particle migration toward both the centerline and corners. These two effects are combined with the fluid inertial effect to understand the particle migration in inertial pseudoplastic and viscoelastic fluid flows.


Particle migration Shear thinning Elasticity Elastic lift Inertial lift Microfluidics 



This work was supported in part by NSF under Grant CBET-1150670 and by Clemson University through a SEED Grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringClemson UniversityClemsonUSA

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