Simplified mesofluidic systems for the formation of micron to millimeter droplets and the synthesis of materials

Jeremy Steinbacher, Yankai Lui, Brian Mason, William Olbricht, D. Tyler McQuade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


We present and validate simple mesofluidic devices for producing monodisperse droplets and materials. The significance of this work is a demonstration that simple and complex droplet formulations can be prepared uniformly using off-the-shelf small-diameter tubing, barbed tubing adapters, and needles. With these simple tools, multiple droplet-forming devices and a new particle concentrator were produced and validated. We demonstrate that the droplet-forming devices could produce low-dispersity particles from 25 to 1200 Km and that these results are similar to results from more complicated devices. Through a study of the fluid dynamics and a dimensional analysis of the data, we have correlated droplet size with two dimensionless groups, capillary number and viscosity ratio. The flowfocusing device is more sensitive to both parameters than the T-junction geometry. The modular character of our mesofluidic devices allowed us to rapidly assemble compound devices that use flow-focusing and T-junction devices in series to create complex droplet-in-microcapsule materials. This work demonstrates that flow chemistry does not require complicated tools, and an inexpensive tool-kit can allow anyone with interest to enter the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Flow Chemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 29 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • continuous materials synthesis
  • fluid dynamics
  • materials synthesis
  • microfluidics
  • monodisperse emulsions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Organic Chemistry


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