Blanc SIMI 9 - Blanc - SIMI 9 - Sciences de l'Ingénierie, Matériaux, Procédés, Energie

TheRmo-Actuated Migration in a microsystem – TRAM

TheRmo-Actuated Migration in a microsystem

Control of diphasic system flows (bubble, droplet, foam) by applying a thermal stress, implying thermocapillary and thermomechanical effects.

Control of diphasic systems by thermal activation

Bubble/droplet driving has been commonly investigated in soft microfluidic chips, using surfactants to stabilize the dispersed phase, involving simultaneously different phenomena that makes the behaviour of the elements especially difficult to predict. Oppositely, we propose to quantify the influence of each of these effects by studying simplified, dichotomic model experiments. This will eventually lead to the full understanding of the complex dynamics in presence of all phenomena, and allow us to predict the direction and magnitude of the element velocity as a function of the different control parameters (cell thickness, nature and concentration of surfactants, element diameter, cell thermal expansion coefficient…). To our knowledge, such a complete description has not been reported in the literature while an increasing number of research groups work on such kinds of systems (for droplet based single cell analysis or PCR). <br />The objectives of the project are twofold: <br />i) Providing a full experimental description of the behaviour of a bubble or droplet and extend the analysis to droplets submitted to a temperature gradient. Describing both theoretically and numerically the system depending on the different parameters (temperature gradient, presence of surfactant, dilation of the cavity…). Based on previous results, developing an application consisting in driving in a controlled way droplets on a 2D substrate for lab-on-a-chips. <br />ii) Developing studies on collective effects based on the previously understood effects, i.e. controling the drainage of a 2D foam, an issue in many industrial applications.

The approach is based on coupling experiments, numerical studies and modeling. The experiments are performed:
1) partner 1 for the studies on droplet dynamic and the application of a temperature gradient (droplet or foam)
2) partner 2 for determining interfacial properties
3) partner 1 in collaboration with partner 5 for the measure of the lubrication film thickness using RICM.
Numerical studies are developped and performed by partner 4 based on textbook cases given by partner 1.
Partner 3 interacts with all the consortium for the modeling part.
Regular meeting allows adjusting the studies by all partners in order to converge.

- observation of a disjoining pressure regime where intermolecular forces intervene in droplet migration
- observation of droplet interface vemlocity
- Agreement with the viscous model of Hodges (2004) in the capillary regime
- development of an actuation system able to reproduce of the elementary functionalities in droplet-based micorfluidics
- foam drainage control in 2D icrochamber using thermocapillarity
- highlight on a new surfactant transport mechanism
- synthesis of fluorescent surfactant
- introduction of van der Waals forces in Gerris code
- 3D simulation of Bretherton bubble

We next focus on droplet velocity. Indeed, experiments show that the droplet velocities are faster than the one predicted by the classical theories. At the same time, the droplet interface velocity will be investigated by adding fluorescent surfactant (SDS/Na-NBD-CAPS). On the numerical side, we expect in the next 6 months to deliver a code able to fully integrate Marangoni stresses in 3D by test-book cases. We then intend to perform numerical studies in a collective systems such as a foam. Finally, we would like to develop bubbly materials for acoustic applications.

1. V. Miralles, B. Selva, I. Cantat and M.-C. Jullien, Foam drainage control using thermocapillary stress in a two-dimensional microchamber, Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 238302 (2014).
2. A. Huerre ; O. Theodoly, A. Leshansky, M.-P Valignat, I. Cantat and

Structured foams are of great interest for different material communities: metallic foams (high resistance), catalysis (high surface/volume ratio) and phononic materials (sound absorption). These foams are fabricated by the solidification of initially liquid foams. A major difficulty in manufacturing such materials is controlling the foam evolution during this first stage. This evolution is due to several phenomena: flow of the continuous phase (drainage), diffusion of gas through the liquid films, and film rupture. Recent publications show that this topic is a crucial issue for both academics and industries.
One aspect of the project aims at developing an alternative to control foam drainage. The approach consists in developing a microfluidic system able to control foam drainage in order to generate highly controlled materials (bubble size and volume fraction) and being able either to reinforce or reverse drainage. The advantages of a microfluidic approach are manifold, the most important is the possibility to perform experiments within very short times (few seconds), giving the possibility to span a large range of experimental parameters in order to optimize, in a first step, drainage control. The control of foam drainage has rekindled interest in the Marangoni effect, which refers to the flows induced by a surface tension gradient that can be generated by a surfactant concentration gradient or by a temperature gradient. The objective is to generate a flow either in the direction or in the opposite direction of gravity by using temperature gradients, successively decaying/increasing the liquid fraction. The advantage of generating Marangoni flows stemming from a temperature gradient is to develop a foam drainage control which does not depend on any seeding material (magnetic particles, photo or thermo-responsive surfactant). In the reverse drainage case, the leading material will be more homogeneous, with a well-controlled liquid fraction and bubble size distribution.
A challenging aspect of this approach is that a temperature gradient generates several side effects, that can be either advantageous or that need to be neutralized, provided these effects are well understood: we have shown in a recent paper [Selva et al., 2011] that a bubble undergoing a constant temperature gradient generates a flow in the surrounding liquid. The physical phenomena involved in such a system are multifaceted (thermocapillarity, solutocapillarity and potentially cell deformation for soft cell) and may have either complementary or opposite effects depending on the experimental conditions; leading to complex situations involving free interface, surfactant diffusion, heat diffusion and hydrodynamics. For this reason, the project is divided into two main steps: (i) a seeding phase at the elementary level containing a valuation; (ii) the study of foam drainage in a temperature gradient.
In a first part (elementary level) we aim to rationalize the contribution of all involved effects under controlled conditions (surfactant concentration and distribution, cavity deformation, level of confinement). Our approach will be threefold: experimental, numerical and modelling legitimizing the contribution of five research complementary groups. This seeding stage will be valued by developing a system able to drive a droplet on a 2D substrate at will (controlled displacement or droplet trapping over space and time).
Based on the understanding given by previous analysis, the second objective of the project is developing a study based on the previously understood effects: controlling the foam drainage, a major application in new materials perspectives. More precisely, we aim at developing an experimental set-up allowing to obtain a homogeneous foam of controlled bubble size and controlled liquid fraction stabilized for a typical time larger than the characteristic foam ageing time.

Project coordinator

Madame Marie-Caroline Jullien (Gulliver)

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.


UMR 7083 ESPCI/CNRS Gulliver
LIONS Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire sur l'Organisation Nanométrique et Supramoléculaire
UMR 6251 Univ. Rennes 1/CNRS Institut de Physique de Rennes
UMR 7190 Univ. Paris 6/ CNRS Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert
UMR 1067/ INSERM Laboratoire Adhesion et Inflammation/Inserm

Help of the ANR 499,816 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2013 - 36 Months

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