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Self-Similar Relaxation of Confined Microfluidic Droplets

Abstract : We report an experimental study concerning the capillary relaxation of a confined liquid droplet in a microscopic channel with rectangular cross-section. The confinement leads to a droplet that is extended along the direction normal to the cross-section. These droplets, found in numerous microfluidic applications, are pinched into a peanut-like shape thanks to a localized, reversible deformation of the channel. Once the channel deformation is released, the droplet relaxes back to a plug-like shape. During this relaxation, the liquid contained in the central pocket drains towards the extremities of the droplet. Modeling such visco-capillary droplet relaxation requires considering the problem as 3D due to confinement. This 3D consideration yields a scaling model incorporating dominant dissipation within the droplet menisci. As such, the self-similar droplet dynamics is fully captured.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 15, 2020 - 4:00:08 PM
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Margaux Kerdraon, Joshua D. Mcgraw, Benjamin Dollet, Marie-Caroline Jullien. Self-Similar Relaxation of Confined Microfluidic Droplets. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2019, 123 (2), ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.123.024501⟩. ⟨hal-02278038⟩

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