NWO Project granted: Suspensions in confined flow

NWO-CW, the chemistry section of the Dutch Science Foundation, announced that 28 out of 129 research proposals were granted this year within its ECHO program. One of the successful ones was the proposal entitled “Influence of wall roughness and particle adhesion on confined flows” of the PCF group.

This project aims at a better understanding of how roughness at the walls of micro-channels (in microfluidic chips), influences the structure and flow pattern of particle suspensions in the channel. Since particles can have the tendency to adhere to walls, by doing so they may also modify the wall roughness.

The specific goal of the granted PhD project is to study how geometric wall roughness and particle-wall adhesion work together in either facilitating or hindering the flow of the suspension along the wall. This will be explored via the fabrication of well-defined wall geometries and a tuning of the physico-chemical interactions between particles and wall. Confocal microscopy will be used for visualizing the local structure and flow of the suspensions.

This research is expected to shed new light on the transport of particle-laden fluids through narrow channels, including the aspects of (how to prevent) fouling and clogging.

(Further information for interested candidates for the PhD position can be obtained from Dr. Michel Duits (m.h.g.duits@utwente.nl).)