Microchannels in series connected via a contraction/expansion section

Y. I.N. Wing Lee, M. A.N. Wong, Yitshak Zohar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Fluid flow in microdevices consisting of pairs of microchannels in series was studied. The dimensions of the channels are about 40 μm × 1 μm × 2000 μm for the wide and about 20 μm × 1 μm × 2000 μm for the narrow channels. Pairs of wide and narrow channels, with integrated pressure sensors, are connected via transition sections with included angles varying from 5° to 180°. Minor pressure losses (not due to friction) were studied by passing nitrogen through the channels under inlet pressures up to 60 p.s.i. Each device was tested in the contraction mode, flow from wide to narrow channel, and in the opposite expansion mode, flow from narrow to wide channel. Mass flow rate was first measured as a function of the overall pressure drop. The detailed pressure distribution along the straight segments and around the transition section was then measured in order to understand the flow pattern. The Reynolds number for these flows is less than 1, suggesting the flow to be of the Hele-Shaw type with no separation such that the results for all the devices should be similar. However, the flow rate was found to decrease and the pressure loss to increase significantly with increasing included angle of the transition section, regardless of the flow direction. Flow separation due to the transition sections, if indeed there is any, cannot explain the large pressure drop since the kinetic energy is negligible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-206
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - May 25 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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