Effect of surfactants on droplet generation in a microfluidic T-junction: A lattice Boltzmann study

Jinggang Zhang, Xitong Zhang, Wei Zhao, Haihu Liu*, Youhua Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal β€Ί Article β€Ί peer-review

Abstract

Droplet generation in a T-junction with surfactants is simulated using our recently developed lattice Boltzmann method. The method is first used to explore the effect of surfactant concentration πœ“π‘ on droplet generation. As πœ“π‘ increases, droplet generation tends to shift from squeezing to dripping regime and then to jetting regime. In the clean system, the upstream pressure varies almost periodically with time. However, in the surfactant-laden system, the upstream pressure no longer varies periodically but overall increases with time for droplet generation in squeezing and dripping regimes. This is because the addition of surfactants results in an additional pressure drop between the front and rear of the generated droplet. Then, droplet generation in both clean and surfactant-laden systems is compared to explore the surfactant role under different values of the capillary number πΆπ‘Ž. In either clean or surfactant-laden system, the pressure upstream of the junction rapidly decreases as πΆπ‘Ž increases. In the presence of surfactants, the upstream pressure overall increases with time for droplet generation in squeezing and dripping regimes, but the increased amplitude decreases with πΆπ‘Ž. Finally, we establish the phase diagrams describing how the droplet generation regime varies with flow rate ratio and πΆπ‘Ž in both clean and surfactant-laden systems. It is found that the addition of surfactants reduces the critical capillary number distinguishing squeezing from dripping and the critical capillary number distinguishing dripping from jetting.
I. INTRODUCTION
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysics of Fluids
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2022

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