Micro-Fluidics Flow Sculpting

Fluidics deals with the control of fluid flows to create desired results. A small fluid flow can be directed to either of two outputs, creating a digital logic gate or switch. With enough fine control of flows, analog devices are also practical. Microfluidics has the potential to analyze and/or separate a variety of flows. The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) at The University of Texas at Austin is being used to model these flows.

Sculpting Flow – [tacc.utexas.edu]

Have you ever noticed the way water flows around boulders in a fast-moving river, creating areas of stillness and intense motion? What if those forces of fluid flow could be controlled at the smallest levels?

In May 2013, researchers from UCLA, Iowa State and Princeton reported results in Nature Communications (“Engineering fluid flow using sequenced microstructures”) about a new way of sculpting tailor-made fluid flows by placing tiny pillars in microfluidic channels. By altering the speed of the fluid, and stacking many pillars, with different widths, placements and orientations, in the fluid’s path, they showed that it is possible to create an impressive array of controlled flows.

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