Fluid behavior of supercritical carbon dioxide with water in a double-Y-channel microfluidic chip

Authors: Ogden, S.O, Bodén, R, Do-Quang, M., Amberg, G.A., Hjort, K.H
Document Type: Article
Pubstate: Published
Journal: Microfluidics and Nanofluidics
Volume: 17   1105
Year: 2014


The use of supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) as an apolar solvent has been known for decades. It offers a greener approach than, e.g., hexane or chloroform, when such solvents are needed. The use of scCO2 in microsystems, however, has only recently started to attract attention. In microfluidics, the flow characteristics need to be known to be able to successfully design such components and systems. As supercritical fluids exhibit the exciting combination of low viscosity, high density, and high diffusion rates, the fluidic behavior is not directly transferrable from aqueous systems. In this paper, three flow regimes in the scCO2–liquid water two-phase microfluidic system have been mapped. The effect of both total flow rate and relative flow rate on the flow regime is evaluated. Furthermore, the droplet dynamics at the bifurcating exit channel are analyzed at different flow rates. Due to the low viscosity of scCO2, segmented flows were observed even at fairly high flow rates. Furthermore, the carbon dioxide droplet behavior exhibited a clear dependence on both flow rate and droplet length.