COMSOL introduces microfluidics simulation module

The new module provides an integrated environment for modeling microfluidic and rarefied flows, including many effects in passive electronic display technology, blood flow, rare gas flows, biosensors, and more.

Cosmol today announces the release of Microfluidics Module for Cosmol Multiphysics, an add-on for the study of microfluidic devices and rarefied gas flows by researchers, engineers, and experimentalists in the fields of microfluidics and vacuum science.

A simulation of a variable-focus liquid lens for a miniature camera during the transition between focal lengths. The lens is made from the interface between two fluids – the lower phase velocity field is colored, the upper phase is shown by an arrow plot. The electrowetting effect is used to change the contact angle at the edge of the cylinder, creating a different meniscus radius and so modifying the focal length of the lens. (Image courtesy Cosmol, Inc.)

Target application areas include lab-on-chip devices, digital microfluidics, biosensors, electrokinetic and magnetokinetic devices, inkjet technology, and vacuum system design. The module is accompanied by a suite of tutorials and industrially relevant models that serve as both instructional examples and as a foundation for future work.

The Cosmol Model Wizard lets Microfluidics Module users choose from a wide range of functionalities to address fluid flow and other coupled phenomena. (Image courtesy Cosmol, Inc.)

The Microfluidics Module includes interfaces for single-phase flow, which make possible the simulation of such applications as compressible gas flows at low pressures, non-Newtonian flows (such as blood flow), and laminar and creeping flows that typically occur in lab-on–a-chip systems.

Cosmol says a particular strength in this module is its modeling interfaces for executing two-phase flow simulations using the level set, phase field, and moving mesh methods. A variety of fluid-interface effects are included such as surface tension forces, capillary forces, and Marangoni effects.

By combining the flow simulation tools in the new module with Cosmol Multiphysics make it possible to set up coupled electrokinetic and magnetohydrodynamic models for the simulation of electrophoresis, magnetophoresis, dielectrophoresis, electroosmosis, and electrowetting effects that are used alone or in combinations in both existing and emerging passive electronic display technologies.

Electric potential (left) and fluid streamlines and concentration profile (right), for an electroosmotic mixer during operation. Mixers are important components of lab-on-a-chip systems and the electroosmotic effect enables very small mixers to be created. (Image courtesy Cosmol, Inc.)

The Microfluidics Module comes with a new free molecular flow interface that uses the fast angular coefficient method and allows for simulations where the molecular mean free path is much longer than the geometric dimensions. Combined with COMSOL’s LiveLink interfaces for industry-standard CAD packages, this tool is invaluable for vacuum system design because it enables users to run quick parametric studies of chamber geometries and pump configurations.

Microfluidics Module Highlights

  • Model single-phase, multiphase, and porous media flows with dedicated physics interfaces.
  • Multiphase flows can be simulated with Level Set, Phase field, and Moving Mesh physics interfaces.
  • Incorporation of essential microfluidic effects such as electrophoresis, magnetophoresis, dielectrophoresis, electroosmosis, and electrowetting.
  • Model chemical diffusion with multiple dilute species. Diffusion and reactions in one phase of a two-phase flow with the two-phase flow moving mesh interface.
  • Solve stationary, highly rarefied flows, such as flows in high vacuum systems, using the free molecular flow interface.
Simulation of a semiconductor ion implanter to minimize the pressure along the ion beam path using the Microfluidics Module in Cosmol. The plot shows the pressure on the surfaces of the vacuum system; two walls have been removed so that the inside of the chamber is visible. (Image courtesy Cosmol, Inc.)

More information: