Master of Science in Chemical Engineering (MSChE)


Chemical Engineering

Document Type



Microfluidics has been extensively investigated as a unique platform to synthesize nanoparticles with desired properties, e.g., size and morphology. Compared to the conventional batch reactors, wet-chemical synthesis using continuous flow microfluidics provides better control over addition of reagents, heat and mass transfer, and reproducibility. Recently, millifluidics has emerged as an alternative since it offers similar control as microfluidics. With its dimensions scaled up to millimeter size, millifluidics saves fabrication efforts and potentially paves the way for industrial applications. Good designs and manipulations of microfluidic and millifluidic devices rely on solid understanding of fluid dynamics. Fluid flow plays an important role in heat and mass transfer; thereby, it determines the quality of the synthesized nanoparticles. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations provide an effective approach to understand various effects on fluid flows without carrying out complicated experiments. The goal of this project is to utilize CFD simulations to study flow behaviors inside microfluidic and millifluidic. Residence time distribution (RTD) analysis coupled with TEM characterization was applied to investigate the effect of reagent flow rates on particle sizes distribution. Droplet-based microfluidics, as a solution to intrinsic drawbacks associated with single-phase microfluidics, depends on proper manipulation of the flow to generate steady droplet flow. The droplet / slug formation process inside a millifluidic reactor was investigated by both experiments and numerical simulations to understand the hydrodynamics of slug breaking. Geometric optimization was carried out to analyze the dependency of slug sizes on geometric dimensions. Numerical simulations were also performed to quantify the mixing efficiency inside slugs. This work provides insight to understand fluid flow inside microfluidic and millifluidic systems. It may benefit the design and operations of novel microfluidic and millifluidic systems.



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Committee Chair

Nandakumar, Krishnaswamy