Preparation of monodispersed oil-in-water emulsions through semi-metal microfluidic EDGE systems

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EDGE (Edge-based Droplet GEneration) emulsification systems with the ability to produce multiple droplets simultaneously from a single nozzle, were used for the preparation of monodispersed oil-in-water emulsions. The devices (with plateau height of 1 µm) were coated with metals (Cu, CuNi and CuNi/Cu) and had different surface roughness and wettability properties. This influenced the emulsification behavior significantly. The large surface roughness of the CuNi/Cu coated system resulted in stronger non-uniform filling of the plateau as compared to the smoother surfaces of Cu and less rough CuNi, and less droplet formation points in the CuNi/Cu coated system relative to the Cu and CuNi systems. The less hydrophilic CuNi surface, however, provided wider pressure stability than the more hydrophilic Cu and CuNi/Cu surface. A narrower pressure stability (Cu surface) and lower number of droplet formation points (CuNi/Cu surface) resulted in lower overall droplet formation frequency when compared with CuNi system. All metal coated EDGE systems reliably produced monodispersed droplets (with sizes being 6 times the plateau height), similar to the silicon-based EDGE systems having much smoother surfaces. The pressure stability for CuNi coated surfaces was wider, while the droplet formation frequency was comparable to that with the silicon system. This indicated that the use of metal is not a limitation in these systems as initially expected, but may be used for more robust and productive emulsification systems, which lend themselves well for scale-out to practical productivity rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)775-784
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • t-shaped microchannel
  • droplet formation
  • membrane emulsification
  • polymer microchannels
  • channel structure
  • y-junctions
  • microspheres
  • devices
  • model
  • array

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