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Preferred interparticle spacings in trains of particles in inertial microchannel flows

  • Soroush Kahkeshani (a1), Hamed Haddadi (a1) and Dino Di Carlo (a1)

Suspended particles migrate towards inertial focusing positions close to walls and align into trains in finite inertia conduit flow. The relative contribution of inertial and viscous forces at the particle length scale, defined by the particle Reynolds number ( $\mathit{Re}_{p}$ ), is a key parameter, where $\mathit{Re}_{p}=\langle \dot{\unicode[STIX]{x1D6FE}}\rangle D^{2}/\unicode[STIX]{x1D708}$ depends on the mean shear rate $\langle \dot{\unicode[STIX]{x1D6FE}}\rangle$ , particle diameter $D$ and fluid kinematic viscosity  $\unicode[STIX]{x1D708}$ . Controlling the location of inertial focusing positions and the interparticle distance is critical in applications such as flow cytometry, imaging and cell entrapment in droplets. By using experimental observations in rectangular microchannels and lattice Boltzmann numerical simulations of dilute suspension flow, the spacing between particles aligned in trains is measured. From the modes of the probability density function of interparticle spacing, preferred spacings at $5D$ and $2.5D$ are observed. At lower $\mathit{Re}_{p}$ , the preferred spacing forms around $5D$ , and with increasing $\mathit{Re}_{p}$ the spacing at $2.5D$ becomes more pronounced. With increasing concentration of the suspension the spacing is influenced by particle crowding effects until stable trains are no longer observed.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
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