Quantitative comparison of thermal and solutal transport in a T-mixer by FLIM and CFD

David-A. Mendels, Emmelyn M. Graham, Steven W. Magennis, Anita C. Jones, Francois Mendels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development and adoption of lab-on-a-chip and micro-TAS (total analysis system) techniques requires not only the solving of design and manufacturing issues, but also the introduction of reliable and quantitative methods of analysis. In this work, two complementary tools are applied to the study of thermal and solutal transport in liquids. The experimental determination of the concentration of water in a water-methanol mixture and of the temperature of water in a microfluidic T-mixer are achieved by means of fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM). The results are compared to those of finite volume simulations based on tabulated properties and well-established correlations for the fluid properties. The good correlation between experimental and modelled results demonstrate without ambiguity that (1) the T-mixer is an adiabatic system within the conditions, fluids and flow rates used in this study, (2) buoyancy effects influence the mixing of liquids of different densities at moderate flow rates (Reynolds number Re << 10(-2)), and (3) the combination of FLIM and computational fluid dynamics has the potential to be used to measure the thermal and solutal diffusion coefficients of fluids for a range of temperatures and concentrations in one single experiment. As such, it represents a first step towards the full-field monitoring of both the extent and the kinetics of a chemical reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-617
Number of pages15
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008



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