Droplet Formation by Confined Liquid Threads inside Microchannels

Cees J.M. van Rijn*, Willem G.N. van Heugten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


A confined liquid thread can form monodisperse droplets near the exit of a microchannel, provided the continuous phase is able to enter the microchannel. A general model that accurately predicts the droplet size including the breakup position inside the microchannel is presented and is verified with experimental observations; breakup occurs as long as the capillary number (Ca) of the liquid thread is below a critical capillary number (Cacr); for cylindrical microchannels, it is derived that Cacr = 1/16. Below Cacr, the formed droplets at the exit of the microchannel have a diameter approximately two times the diameter of the liquid thread; around and above Cacr, the liquid thread remains stable and the formed droplets grow infinitely large. The presented controlled droplet generation method is a useful tool for producing monodisperse emulsions and has great potential for the food and pharmaceutical industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10035-10040
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2017

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