CE30 - Physique de la matière condensée et de la matière diluée

Adaptive Microfluidic Networks for Optimal Transport – AMNOT

Submission summary

Flow transport in complex networks is abundant in biology and engineering, from the vasculature of animals, to the hyphal networks of fungi, to the random porous media making up batteries. It has long been thought that biological network morphologies were optimised to minimise the energetic cost associated to viscous flow dissipation in their branches. However, another possibility, raised recently is for these networks to be optimal for mass exchange, or perfusion. We then need not only to have a network that covers space efficiently, but also whose morphology leads to an even flow of chemicals (catalysts, nutrients, oxygen,...) throughout all its tubes, so that all parts of the network receive the same amount of chemical.

Living systems continuously adapt their network morphology in response to stimuli; local feedback coupled to the presence of global flows leads to self-organised structures optimal for perfusion. In contrast, fluid velocities in engineered networks of random media differ from tube to tube, and follow an overall exponential distribution. Transport through these porous media is inefficient, being limited to a few fast lanes. The current strategy to optimize flow in porous media is to build, branch by branch, an optimized network morphology.

The aim of our project is to combine theory, simulations and experiments to generate adaptive microfluidic networks whose morphology self-organises in response to signals, leading to network morphologies optimal for perfusion. In addition to its fundamental interest, the outcome of this project has a wide range of applications, from the design and cooling of efficient batteries, to the production of enhanced chemical reactors having high transport efficiency and a large reaction surface, contributing to having a cleaner, more affordable energy.

Project coordination

Gabriel Amselem (Laboratoire d'hydrodynamique)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LadHyX Laboratoire d'hydrodynamique
TUM Technical University of Munich / Theory of biological networks

Help of the ANR 372,225 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2022 - 36 Months

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