Breakup length of AC electrified jets in a microfluidic flow‑focusing junction

Abstract : Electroactuation of liquid–liquid interfaces offers promising methods to actively modulate droplet formation in droplet-based microfluidic systems. Here, flowfocusing junctions are coupled to electrodes to control droplet production in the well-known jetting regime. In this regime, a convective instability develops leading to droplet formation at the end of a thin and uniform, long liquid finger. We show that in AC electric fields, the jet length is a function of both the magnitude of the applied voltage and the electrical parameters such as the frequency of the AC field and the conductivity of the dispersed phase. We explain that dependency using a simple transmission line model along the liquid jet. An optimum frequency to maximize the liquid ligament length is experimentally observed. Such length simply cannot be obtained by other means under the same operating conditions, in the absence of the AC signal. At low frequency, we reach a transition from a well-behaved, uniform jet brought about near the optimum frequency to highly unstable liquid structures in which axisymmetry is lost rather abruptly.
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Elena Castro‑hernánde, Pablo García‑sánchez, Say Hwa Tan, Alfonso M. Gañán‑calvo, Jean-Christophe Baret, et al.. Breakup length of AC electrified jets in a microfluidic flow‑focusing junction. Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, Springer Verlag, 2015, pp.Online. ⟨10.1007/s10404-015-1603-3⟩. ⟨hal-01178890⟩

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