A cost-effective serpentine micromixer utilizing ellipse curve

Xin Wang, Zhanqiang Liu, Yukui Cai, Bing Wang, Xichun Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Due to high mixing performance and simple geometry structure, serpentine micromixer is one typical passive micromixer that has been widely investigated. Traditional zigzag and square-wave serpentine micromixers can achieve sufficient mixing, but tend to induce significant pressure drop. The excessive pressure drop means more energy consumption, which leads to low cost-performance of mixing. To mitigate excessive pressure drop, a novel serpentine micromixer utilizing ellipse curve is proposed. While fluids flowing through ellipse curve microchannels, the flow directions keep continuous changing. Therefore, the Dean vortices are induced throughout the whole flow path. Numerical simulation and visualization experiments are conducted at Reynolds number (Re) ranging from 0.1 to 100. Dean vortices varies with the changing curvature in different ellipse curves, and local Dean numbers are calculated for quantitative evaluation. The results suggest that the ellipse with a larger eccentricity induces stronger Dean vortices, thus better mixing performance can be obtained. A parameter, named mixing performance cost (Mec), is proposed to evaluate the cost-performance of micromixers. Compared with the zigzag, square-wave and other improved serpentine micromixers, the ellipse curve micromixer produces lower pressure drop while have the capability to maintain excellent mixing performance. The ellipse curve micromixer is proved to be more cost-effective for rapid mixing in complex microfluidic systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number338355
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Early online date1 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021


  • dean number
  • ellipse curve
  • micromixer
  • mixing efficiency cost
  • mixing performance
  • pressure drop


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