Static micromixers based on large-scale industrial mixer geometry
Mixing liquids at the micro-scale is difficult because the low Reynolds numbers in microchannels and in microreactors prohibit the use of conventional mixing techniques based on mechanical actuators and induce turbulence. Static mixers can be used to solve this mixing problem. This paper presents micromixers with geometries very close to conventional large- scale static mixers used in the chemical and food-processing industry. Two kinds of geometries have been studied. The first type is composed of a series of stationary rigid elements that form intersecting channels to split, rearrange and combine component streams. The second type is composed of a series of short helix elements arranged in pairs, each pair comprised of a right- handed and left-handed element arranged alternately in a pipe. Micromixers of both types have been designed by CAD and manufactured with the integral microstereolithography process, a new microfabrication technique that allows the manufacturing of complex three-dimensional objects in polymers. The realized mixers have been tested experimentally. Numerical simulations of these micromixers using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program FLUENT(TM) are used to evaluate the mixing efficiency. With a low pressure drop and good mixing efficiency these truly three-dimensional micromixers can be used for mixing of reactants or liquids containing cells in many m TAS applications.