Evolution of Mixing in a Microfluidic Reverse-staggered Herringbone Micromixer

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Microfluidics and Nanofluidics


Microfluidic platforms offer a variety of advantages including improved heat transfer, low working volumes, ease of scale-up, and stronger user control on operating parameters. However, flow within microfluidic channels occurs at low Reynolds number (Re), which makes mixing difficult to accomplish. Adding V-shaped ridges to channel walls, a pattern called the staggered herringbone design (SHB), alleviates this problem by introducing transverse flow patterns that enable enhanced mixing. Building on our prior work, we here developed a microfluidic mixer utilizing the SHB geometry and characterized using CFD simulations and complimentary experiments. Specifically, we investigated the performance of this type of mixer for unequal species diffusivities and inlet flows. A channel design with SHB ridges was simulated in COMSOL Multiphysics® software under a variety of operating conditions to evaluate its mixing capabilities. The device was fabricated using soft-lithography techniques to experimentally visualize the mixing process. Mixing within the device was enabled by injecting fluorescent dyes through the device and imaging using a confocal microscope. The device was found to efficiently mix fluids rapidly, based on both simulations and experiments. Varying Re or species diffusion coefficients had a weak effect on the mixing profile, due to the laminar flow regime and insufficient residence time, respectively. Mixing effectiveness increased as the species flow rate ratio increased. Fluid flow patterns visualized in confocal microscope images for selective cases were strikingly similar to CFD results, suggesting that the simulations serve as good predictors of device performance. This SHB mixer design would be a good candidate for further implementation as a microfluidic reactor.


Financial support from the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program to B.H., and confocal microscopy facility at CSU (funded by Grant NIH 1 S10 OD010381) is also appreciated.

Link to publisher's site: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10404-018-2074-0