Hydrodynamic interactions in quasi-2D creeping flow
Separation of species on a sub-millimeter scale has been a lingering issue in chemical engineering for decades, exacerbated in recent years by the demand for reliable and cheap methods for pharmaceutical separation. In my PhD project I consider micron-sized aspherical particles subjected to creeping flow in a microfluidic device. Particles in confined flow can interact hydrodynamically with each other or with surrounding surfaces, altering their trajectories. Tailoring these trajectories via particle shape holds the key toward novel advanced separation techniques. To establish a quantitative relation between the shape of a particle and its trajectory I employ experimental and numerical methods. Experimental choices are guided by coarse-grained simulations, which are, in turned verified by experimental data. Both methods serve as means towards the development of a unified theory of shape-dependent motion at the microscale.
The focus of our lab is understanding the fundamental out-of-equilibrium manufacturing/seperation processes involving flow, phase transitions (particularly, crystallization) and soft matter/complex fluids. Our approach is to understand how structure/dynamics of soft matter (hydrogels, emulsions, surfactants) and flow can be leveraged to dictate molecular phenomenon (polymorphism, crystallization, phase seperation) and, ultimately, harness this understanding to rationally design functional materials and processes.
For more information see the website www.erallab.com