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Keywords:

  • bubble;
  • multiphase flow;
  • microfluidics;
  • hydrodynamic feedback

Bubble breakup at a microfluidic T-junction by taking into consideration the hydrodynamic feedback at the downstream channels is presented. Experiments are conducted in square microchannels with 400 μm in width. The splitting ratio of the bubble size in the bifurcations varies nonmonotonically with the flow rate ratio of gas/liquid phases, and it is also affected by the liquid viscosity. A critical size of the mother bubble determines the variation trend of the splitting ratio of bubble size with flow rates of both phases and the liquid viscosity, which is related to the different breakup mechanisms for long and short bubbles at the junction and the different additional resistances induced by long and short bubbles in downstream channels. A theoretical model is proposed to predict the tailoring size of bubbles at the T-junction by taking into account of the additional resistance in the presence of bubbles in downstream channels. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 1920–1929, 2014