Toronto Metropolitan University
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Inertial particle separation in helical channels: A calibrated numerical analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-04, 15:44 authored by Joshua Palumbo, Maryam Navi, Scott TsaiScott Tsai, Jan K. Spelt, Marcello PapiniMarcello Papini

Inertial microfluidics has been used in recent years to separate particles by size, with most efforts focusing on spiral channels with rectangular cross sections. Typically, particles of different sizes have been separated by ensuring that they occupy different equilibrium positions near the inner wall. Trapezoidal cross sections have been shown to improve separation efficiency by entraining one size of particles in Dean vortices near the outer wall and inertially focusing larger particles near the inner wall. Recently, this principle was applied to a helical channel to develop a small-footprint microfluidic device for size-based particle separation and sorting. Despite the promise of these helical devices, the effects of channel geometry and other process parameters on separation efficiency remain unexplored. In this paper, a simplified numerical model was used to estimate the effect of various geometric parameters such as channel pitch, diameter, taper angle, depth, and width on the propensity for particle separation. This study can be used to aid in the design of microfluidic devices for optimal size-based inertial particle separation.