Application of microfluidic pore models for flow, transport, and reaction in geological porous media: from a single test bed to multifunction real-time analysis tool

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Recent advances in microfluidics technology can significantly benefit engineering and science research. Through integration with current optical tools like the optical/confocal microscope, the 3D printing, the soft lithography, and the lithography–etching, microfluidic pore model offers a direct and visual way to study the process of geological related pore-scale transport phenomena. In this paper, recent progress of microfluidic pore model mimicking the geological porous media are discussed, which can apply on many disciplines such as environmental, petroleum engineering and geosciences. The purpose of this review is to highlight the significant features of microfluidic pore model application in geological porous medium pertaining research, as well as to provide engineer/scientist an overview of materials and fabrication methods to manufacture micromodels. Furthermore, the outlook of intensively using micromodel as a multifunction real-time analysis tool is proposed to help the reader to enhance their understanding of pore-scale transport phenomena related to geological porous medium. Also, potential critical issues of micromodels in both research and teaching are discussed. The overall role of this review for microfluidic application is intended to provide benefits to professors, students, and other scientists not only in research but also in teaching fields.

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Microsystem Technologies

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