Multiphase flow behavior in microscale is governed by the balance between capillary and viscous, or viscoelastic in case of polymer solutions, forces. Fundamental understanding of capillary hydrodynamics in microchannels may lead to important technology development in different areas, biological sensors, fabrication of monodispersed dispersions, reactors and enhance oil recovery.
Our research in microfluidics is focused in two different areas: fabrication of mono dispersed microcapsules with tunable elastic properties and emulsions, stabilized by surfactant or nanoparticles; and as a platform for visualization of two-phase flow in porous material.
Microfluidic techniques have enable the development and fabrication of Pickering emulsions and microcapsules with tunable mechanical properties. In principle, these systems can be design as mobility control agent in the flow through porous media and also as a vehicle for target and controlled chemical delivery, with great potential for applications in pharmaceutical, medical and oil industries.
The use of 2D and 3D microfluidic devices as a transparent porous media has enable the fundamental understanding of pore-level complex flow phenomena. We have used optical microscope to study wettability effect and oil displacement by complex fluids in 2D models of porous space. The work is now being extended to 3D porous materials by using confocal microscopy and x-ray micro tomography.