Engineering of branched fluidic networks that minimise energy dissipation

J.S. Smink*, C.H. Venner, C.W. Visser, R. Hagmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Power minimisation of fluid transport in branched fluidic networks has become of paramount importance for microfluidics, additive manufacturing and hierarchical functional materials. For fully developed laminar flow of Newtonian fluids, Murray's theory provides a solution for the channel and network dimensions that minimise power consumption. However, design and optimisation of networks that transport complex fluids is still challenging. Here, we generalise Murray's theory towards fluid rheologies, including non-Newtonian (power-law) and yield-stress fluids (Bingham, Herschel–Bulkley, Casson). A straightforward graphical approach is presented that provides the optimal radii in a branching network, and the angles between these branches. The wall shear stress is found to be uniform over the entire network, and the velocity profile is self-similar. Furthermore, the effect of non-optimal channel radii on the power consumption of the network is investigated. Finally, examples illustrate how this approach applies to a wide variety of systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA6
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date12 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2023


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