Microfluidics module handles single- and multi-phase flow simulation

May 27, 2011 — Based on COMSOL Multiphysics simulation software, the new COMSOL Inc. Microfluidics Module enables users to study microfluidic devices and rarefied gas flows. The module is designed for microfluidics and vacuum researchers and engineers.

The Microfluidics Module can be used with lab-on-chip devices, inkjet technology, digital microfluidics, electrokinetic and magnetokinetic devices, biosensors, and vacuum system designs. Tutorials and relevant models can be used for instruction or a starting point for experiments (Capillary Rise, Jet Instability, Drug Delivery System, Electrokinetic Valve, Electroosmotic Mixer, Electrowetting Lens, Lamella Mixer, Star Chip, Viscous Catenary, Vacuum Capillary, and Ion Implanter). Read more about ion implant here.

Microfluidics device simulation requires the researcher to incorporate multiple physical effects, noted Dr. James Ransley, who developed the Microfluidics Module with COMSOL. The Microfluidics Module’s toolset handles single- and multi-phase flows, transport and chemical reactions, flow in porous media, and rarefied flows. One user interface allows users to couple physics phenomena with thermal and electromagnetic effects, he added.

Interfaces for single-phase flow simulate compressible gas flows at low pressures, non-Newtonian flows (such as blood flow), and laminar and creeping flows that typically occur in lab-on-a-chip systems, and similar applications.

The module’s modeling interfaces for executing two-phase flow simulations use the level set, phase field, and moving mesh methods. It accounts for fluid-interface effects such as capillary forces, surface tension forces, and Marangoni effects.

Electrokinetic and magnetohydrodynamic models can be set up to simulate electrophoresis, magnetophoresis, electroosmosis, dielectrophoresis, and electrowetting effects. These suit research into existing and emerging passive electronic display technologies.

Chemical diffusion for multiple dilute species allows simulation of processes occurring in lab-on-chip devices and biosensors.

The Microfluidics Module’s free molecular flow interface uses the fast angular coefficient method and enables imulations where the molecular mean free path is much longer than the geometric dimensions. Vacuum system designers can use the tool in combination with COMSOL’s LiveLink interfaces for industry-standard CAD packages, running quick parametric studies of chamber geometries and pump configurations.

COMSOL Multiphysics is a software environment for the modeling and simulation of any physics-based system. Optional modules add discipline-specific tools for mechanical, fluid, electromagnetics,  and chemical simulations, as well as CAD interoperability. Learn more at www.comsol.com.

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