To determine how cavitation bubbles within micro- or nanostructures mitigate surface erosion and increase the efficiency of microfluidic mixing devices, which are often used to mix multiple samples quickly and effectively. , embarked on an interdisciplinary project.
Potential applications of the research findings include the creation of more efficient and resilient pumping machines and their implementation in portable, high-precision biological tests currently reserved only for laboratory settings. increase. This research recently scientific report.
The project was led by Professor James and Ada Forsyth and Dr. Guillermo Aguilar, Department Head of the J. Mike Walker ’66 Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.
Cavitation (the rapid formation and collapse of vapor bubbles within a liquid) is an extensively researched area. This project aimed to better understand the basic science of cavitation dynamics while identifying potential applications.
“Although cavitation has been extensively studied, cavitation bubbles And jets with micro- or nanostructures and shock waves are still an active area of research,” said Aguilar. device. “
The researchers used a high-speed camera equipped with a microscope lens along with laser-induced cavitation to record tiny bubbles that typically boast a size of 1 millimeter and last just a tenth of a millisecond. Additionally, the project used several different lasers to serve different purposes throughout the project. research process,include femtosecond laser nanosecond lasers to create micropatterning on target surfaces, nanosecond lasers to induce cavitation, and continuous wave lasers to perform particle tracking.
This method allowed the team to trap air pockets on the surface of the microstructure, demonstrating how these air pockets significantly reduced the erosion normally caused by cavitation mechanisms. At the same time, the collapse of micro- and nano-patterned near-surface cavitation bubbles enhanced the mixing of adjacent fluids.
“We believe this research could be a starting point for developing microfluidics and erosion mitigation applications,” said Aguilar. “In the future, we could have commercial microfluidic devices that use this technology for in-situ, high-precision biological testing that is currently limited to laboratory settings. We believe that by doing so, we can make the pumping machine work more efficiently, last longer and save money.”
One of the big challenges of this project was the preparation. When assembling the team, a number of different areas of expertise were required to effectively execute the project. According to Aguilar, mechanical engineers are well equipped for that.
“This is an interdisciplinary project, not just fluids, but optics, photonics, materials science,” says Aguilar. “as mechanical engineer, has a broad knowledge base for tackling such complex problems. Therefore, this kind of interdisciplinary research relies heavily on teamwork. ”
For more information:
Vicente Robles et al, Effect of scalable PDMS gas-filled microstructures on the dynamics of single cavitation bubbles, scientific report (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-24746-w
Texas A&M University School of Engineering
Quote: Erosion of Microfluidic Devices Reduced by Cavitation Bubbles (December 23, 2022)
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