Theoretical and numerical studies of chaotic mixing
Theoretical and numerical studies of chaotic mixing are performed to circumvent the difficulties of efficient mixing, which come from the lack of turbulence in microfluidic devices. In order to carry out efficient and accurate parametric studies and to identify a fully chaotic state, a spectral element algorithm for solution of the incompressible Navier-Stokes and species transport equations is developed. Using Taylor series expansions in time marching, the new algorithm employs an algebraic factorization scheme on multi-dimensional staggered spectral element grids, and extends classical conforming Galerkin formulations to nonconforming spectral elements. Lagrangian particle tracking methods are utilized to study particle dispersion in the mixing device using spectral element and fourth order Runge-Kutta discretizations in space and time, respectively. Comparative studies of five different techniques commonly employed to identify the chaotic strength and mixing efficiency in microfluidic systems are presented to demonstrate the competitive advantages and shortcomings of each method. These are the stirring index based on the box counting method, Poincare sections, finite time Lyapunov exponents, the probability density function of the stretching field, and mixing index inverse, based on the standard deviation of scalar species distribution. Series of numerical simulations are performed by varying the Peclet number (Pe) at fixed kinematic conditions. The mixing length (lm) is characterized as function of the Pe number, and lm ∝ ln(Pe) scaling is demonstrated for fully chaotic cases. Employing the aforementioned techniques, optimum kinematic conditions and the actuation frequency of the stirrer that result in the highest mixing/stirring efficiency are identified in a zeta potential patterned straight micro channel, where a continuous flow is generated by superposition of a steady pressure driven flow and time periodic electroosmotic flow induced by a stream-wise AC electric field. Finally, it is shown that the invariant manifold of hyperbolic periodic point determines the geometry of fast mixing zones in oscillatory flows in two-dimensional cavity.
Kim, Ho Jun (2008). Theoretical and numerical studies of chaotic mixing. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from