Frequency dependence of microflows upon acoustic interactions with fluids

Benjamin Tiller, Julien Reboud, Tassieri Manlio, Rab Wilson, Jonathan M. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
38 Downloads (Pure)


Rayleigh surface acoustic waves (SAWs), generated on piezoelectric substrates, can interact with liquids to generate fast streaming flows. Although studied extensively, mainly phenomenologically, the effect of the SAW frequency on streaming in fluids in constrained volumes is not fully understood, resulting in sub-optimal correlations between models and experimental observations. Using microfluidic structures to reproducibly define the fluid volume, we use recent advances modeling the body force generated by SAWs to develop a deeper understanding of the effect of acoustic frequency on the magnitude of streaming flows. We implement this as a new predictive tool using a finite element model of fluid motion to establish optimized conditions for streaming. The model is corroborated experimentally over a range of different acoustic excitation frequencies enabling us to validate a design tool, linking microfluidic channel dimensions with frequencies and streaming efficiencies. We show that in typical microfluidic chambers, the length and height of the chamber are critical in determining the optimum frequency, with smaller geometries requiring higher frequencies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number122008
Number of pages8
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 26 Dec 2017


  • surface acoustic waves
  • ultrasonic radiation force
  • hydrodynamic pumps


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