Three-dimensional streaming Flow in confined geometries

B. Rallabandi, A. Marin, M. Rossi, C.J. Kähler, S. Hilgenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Steady streaming vortex flow from microbubbles has been developed into a versatile tool for microfluidic sample manipulation. For ease of manufacture and quantitative control, set-ups have focused on approximately two-dimensional flow geometries based on semi-cylindrical bubbles. The present work demonstrates how the necessary flow confinement perpendicular to the cylinder axis gives rise to non-trivial three-dimensional flow components. This is an important effect in applications such as sorting and micromixing. Using asymptotic theory and numerical integration of fluid trajectories, it is shown that the two-dimensional flow dynamics is modified in two ways: (i) the vortex motion is punctuated by bursts of strong axial displacement near the bubble, on time scales smaller than the vortex period; and (ii) the vortex trajectories drift over time scales much longer than the vortex period, forcing fluid particles onto three-dimensional paths of toroidal topology. Both effects are verified experimentally by quantitative comparison with astigmatism particle tracking velocimetry (APTV) measurements of streaming flows. It is further shown that the long-time flow patterns obey a Hamiltonian description that is applicable to general confined Stokes flows beyond microstreaming.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-429
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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