Experimental and numerical study of elasto-inertial focusing in straight channels

Mohammad Amin Raoufi, Ali Mashhadian, Hamid Niazmand, Mohsen Asadnia, Amir Razmjou, Majid Ebrahimi Warkiani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Elasto-inertial microfluidics has drawn significant attention in recent years due to its enhanced capabilities compared to pure inertial systems in control of small microparticles. Previous investigations have focused mainly on the applications of elasto-inertial sorting, rather than studying its fundamentals. This is because of the complexity of simulation and analysis, due to the presence of viscoelastic force. There have been some investigative efforts on the mechanisms of elasto-inertial focusing in straight channels; however, these studies were limited to simple rectangular channels and neglected the effects of geometry and flow rates on focusing positions. Herein, for the first time, we experimentally and numerically explore the effects of elasticity accompanying channel cross-sectional geometry and sample flow rates on the focusing phenomenon in elasto-inertial systems. The results reveal that increasing the aspect ratio weakens the elastic force more than inertial force, causing a transition from one focusing position to two. In addition, they show that increasing the angle of a channel corner causes the elastic force to push the particles more efficiently toward the center over a larger area of the channel cross section. Following on from this, we proposed a new complex straight channel which demonstrates a tighter focusing band compared to other channel geometries. Finally, we focused Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells (3-5 μm) in the complex channel to showcase its capability in focusing small-size particles. We believe that this research work improves the understanding of focusing mechanisms in viscoelastic solutions and provides useful insights into the design of elasto-inertial microfluidic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number034103
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


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