Cluster formation and growth in microchannel flow of dilute particle suspensions

Tarun Gudipaty, Matthew T. Stamm, Luthur S.L. Cheung, Linan Jiang, Yitshak Zohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The lifetime of microfluidic devices depends on their ability to maintain flow without interruption. Certain applications require microdevices for transport of liquids containing particles. However, microchannels are susceptible to blockage by solid particles. Therefore, in this study, the phenomenon of interest is the formation and growth of clusters on a microchannel surface in the flow of a dilute suspension of hard spheres. Based on the present experiments, aggregation of clusters was observed for particleladen flows in microchannels with particle void fraction as low as 0.001 and particle diameter to channel height ratio as low as 0.1. The incipience and growth of a single cluster is discussed, and the spatial distribution and time evolution of clusters along the microchannel are presented. Although the cluster size seems to be independent of location, more clusters are found at the inlet/outlet regions than in the microchannel center. Similarly as for an individual cluster, as long as particle-cluster interaction is the dominant mode, the total cluster area in the microchannel grows almost linearly in time. The effects of flow rate, particle size, and concentration are also reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-669
Number of pages9
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Cluster formation and growth
  • Microchannel suspension flow
  • Particle aggregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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