Novel swirl flow-focusing microfluidic device for the production of monodisperse microbubbles

Irene Arcos-Turmo, Miguel Ángel Herrada, José María López-Herrera, David Fernandez Rivas, Alfonso M. Gañán-Calvo, Elena Castro-Hernández (Corresponding Author)

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A novel swirl flow-focusing microfluidic axisymmetric device for the generation of monodisperse microbubbles at high production rates to be used as in-line contrast agents for medical applications is presented. The swirl effect is induced upstream of the discharge orifice by a circular array of microblades which form a given angle with the radial direction. The induced vortical component on the focusing liquid stabilizes the gas meniscus by the vorticity amplification due to vortex stretching as the liquid is forced through the discharge orifice. The stabilized meniscus tapers into a steady gas ligament that breaks into monodisperse microbubbles. A reduction up to 57% in the microbubble diameter is accomplished when compared to conventional axisymmetric flow-focusing microdevices. An exhaustive experimental study is performed for various blade angles and numerous gas to liquid flow rate ratios, validating previous VoF numerical simulations. The microbubbles issued from the stabilized menisci verify prior scaling law of flow-focusing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Number of pages7
JournalMicrofluidics and nanofluidics
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Microbubble
  • Flow-focusing
  • Swirl


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