Competition between Local Collisions and Collective Hydrodynamic Feedback Controls Traffic Flows in Microfluidic Networks

By studying the repartition of monodisperse droplets at a simple T junction, we show that the traffic of discrete fluid systems in microfluidic networks results from two competing mechanisms, whose significance is driven by confinement. Traffic is dominated by collisions occurring at the junction for small droplets and by collective hydrodynamic feedback for large ones. For each mechanism, we present simple models in terms of the pertinent dimensionless parameters of the problem.

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