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Liquid flow pattern around Taylor bubbles in an etched rectangular microchannel

Elsevier B.V.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cherd.2011.11.008
  • Taylor Bubble
  • Slug Flow
  • Microchannel
  • Three-Dimensional Tracking
  • Submicron Particles
  • Diffraction Pattern


Abstract Liquid flow around Taylor bubbles and the motion of bubble interface in a rectangular microchannel etched on a microfluidic chip were investigated using a three-dimensional particle tracking method. The Taylor bubbles were generated by releasing the dissolved air in working the liquid (water) through heating the microfluidic chip to 35–55°C and had low velocities (15–1500μm/s). Three-dimensional velocity distributions of liquid recirculation flows surrounding the Taylor bubble head and tail were obtained by tracking submicron fluorescent particles seeded in the working liquid and the motion of the bubble interface was analyzed by monitoring the motions of the particles attached on the bubble interface. The high velocity film flow through the microchannel corners acted as a liquid jet in front of bubble head and drainage into the corners behind the bubble tail to drive the liquid recirculation flows. The bubble interface near the microchannel corners was also moved by the strong liquid shear induced from the high velocity liquid flow in the microchannel corners. This high velocity liquid flow through the corners could be considered to be driven by the pressure drop over the Taylor bubble. The pressure drop resulted from the decrease of bubble surface mobility due to tracer surfactant in the gas–liquid interface.

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