A surface tension driven micropump harnessing the pressure difference generated by drops of different curvature radii proves to be a simple and attractive passive method to drive fluid flow in microdevices. Here we observed the appearance of backward flow when the initial sizes of the droplets at the inlet and outlet ports are similar. To explain this phenomenon several hypotheses have been investigated. Consideration of the inertia of the fluid in the channel revealed that it alone is insufficient to explain the observed backward flow. We discovered that rotational flow inside the outlet droplet could be a source of inertia, explaining the generation of the backward flow. In addition, we have experimentally determined that the ratio of the volumes of the initial outlet drop and inlet drop correlates with the occurrence of the backward flow.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering