Fluid streaming in micro/minibifurcating networks

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In this study, we investigate the phenomena of flow streaming in micro-/minichannel networks of symmetrical bifurcations using computer simulations with analytical validation. The phenomena of the flow streaming can be found in zero-mean velocity oscillating flows in a wide range of channel geometries. Although there is no net mass flow (zero-mean velocity) passing through the channels, the discrepancy in velocity profiles between the forward flow and backward flow causes fluid particles near the walls to drift toward one end while particles near the centerline to drift toward the opposite end. The unique characteristics of flow streaming could be used for various applications. The advantages include enhanced mixing, pumpless fluid propulsion, multichannel fluid distribution, easy system integration, and cost-effective operation. The results of computer simulations showed that oscillation amplitude is the dominant effect on streaming velocity in channel networks. Streaming velocity was directly proportional to the oscillation frequency and can be used as a cost-effective and reliable convective transport means when the particle diffusivity is less than the fluid kinematic viscosity. A considerable amount of work is needed to further study and understand the flow streaming phenomenon. Copyright © 2009 by ASME.

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Journal of Fluids Engineering, Transactions of the ASME