Zhang, Xunli, Coupland, Paul, Fletcher, Paul D.I. and Haswell, Stephen J.
Monitoring of liquid flow through microtubes using a micropressure sensor.
Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 87, (1), . (doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2008.06.007).
The pressure-driven liquid flow through microtubes was studied in a range of very low Reynolds numbers (<0.15) by monitoring the pressure change in situ. Cylindrical microtubes with diameters ranging from 50 μm to 500 μm were examined and two types of tube material, namely PEEK polymer and fused silica were compared. A good linear relation for the pressure drop versus flow rate was obtained. Apparent deviations between the measured slopes with those calculated using conventional theory were attributed to uncertainties in the calculated values which are dominated by the uncertainties in the microtube diameters. It was found that a period of stabilisation time was required for reaching a steady flow after the syringe pump was switched on/off or to a different flow rate. The stabilisation time was likely due to the compressibility of the fluid. Insignificant difference between PEEK polymer and fused silica microtubes in terms of flow resistance was observed. The in-situ measurement of pressure drops provides a convenient approach for monitoring fluid flow through microtubes and detecting dimensional changes within microchannels in Lab-on-a-Chip and microreactor systems.
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