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Bubble-based acoustic micropropulsors: active surfaces and mixers.

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Bertin, Nicolas 
Spelman, Tamsin A 
Combriat, Thomas 
Hue, Hervé 
Stéphan, Olivier 


Acoustic micropropulsors present great potential for microfluidic applications. The propulsion is based on encapsulated 20 μm bubbles excited by a contacless ultrasonic transducer. The vibrating bubbles then generate a powerful streaming flow, with speeds 1-100 mm s-1 in water, through the action of viscous stresses. In this paper we introduce a full toolbox of micropropulsors using a versatile three-dimensional (3D) microfabrication setup. Doublets and triplets of propulsors are introduced, and the flows they generate are predicted by a theoretical hydrodynamic model. We then introduce whole surfaces covered with propulsors, which we term active surfaces. These surfaces are excited by a single ultrasonic wave, can generate collective flows and may be harnessed for mixing purposes. Several patterns of propulsors are tested, and the flows produced by the two most efficient mixers are predicted by a simple theoretical model based on flow singularities. In particular, the vortices generated by the most efficient pattern, an L-shaped mixer, are analysed in detail.



0915 Interdisciplinary Engineering

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Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
P. M. acknowledges financial support from the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007- 2013) ERC Grant Agreement Bubbleboost no. 614655. This work has been performed with the help of the “Plateforme Technologique Amont” de Grenoble, with the financial support of the “Nanosciences aux limites de la Nanoélectronique” foundation. This work was partially funded through a Marie Curie CIG grant (EL) and through EPSRC (TS).