Collective Dynamics of Non-Coalescing and Coalescing Droplets in Microfluidic Parking Networks

Swastika Bithi, Siva Vanapalli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the complex collective dynamics mediated by flow resistance interactions when trains of non-coalescing and coalescing confined drops are introduced into a microfluidic parking network (MPN). The MPN consists of serially connected loops capable of parking arrays of drops. We define parking modes based on whether drops park without breakage or drop fragments are parked subsequent to breakage or drops park after coalescence. With both non-coalescing and coalescing drops, we map the occurrence of these parking modes in MPNs as a function of system parameters including drop volume, drop spacing and capillary number. We find that the non-coalescing drops can either park or break in the network, producing highly polydisperse arrays. We further show that parking due to collision induced droplet break-up is the main cause of polydispersity. We discover that collisions occur due to a crowding instability, which is a natural outcome of the network topology. In striking contrast, with co
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5122-5132
JournalSoft Matter
StatePublished - 2015


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