Importance of Fluids in the Design of Micro and Macro systems

October 29, 2015 | By | Reply More

Fluid mechanics plays a critical role in the design of a wide range of mechanical systems across many orders of magnitude. Large laboratory equipment is now being replaced by microfluidic devices that combine pipes, valves, and pumps to deliver and process fluid samples on a single silicon chip. These devices, sometimes referred to as a lab-on-a-chip, are based on the principle of processing a tiny quantity of fluid, thousands of times smaller than a raindrop.

importance of fluid mechanics in micro and macro systems

Significance of Fluid Engineering in Micro and Macro Devices

  • Handling such small volumes is desirable when the sample is either very expensive or when it could be hazardous in larger quantities.
  • In a microfluidic device, pipes and channels are designed and manufactured to dimensions that are smaller than the diameter of a human hair, and minute quantities of chemical and biological compounds are pumped through them. Volumes in a microfluidic device are so small that they are often measured in the units of nanoliters (10^-9 L) or even picoliters (10^-12 L).
  • Manipulating fluids on such small dimensional scales offers technological opportunities for automating pharmaceutical experiments,detecting biological and chemical agents in the environment, analyzing and mapping DNA controlling laminar fuel and oxidant flow in fuel cells, performing at-home diagnostic tests for infections, sorting biological cells, and even delivering precise dosages of a medication.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, new understandings of turbulent flows are helping engineers design more efficient airplanes, ships, and spacecraft; better ways to control and eliminate urban pollution dispersal; and
    improved global weather prediction systems.
  • Physicists and engineers have long struggled to understand the complexities of the turbulent flows near a surface, including air moving over a fuselage or water moving across an underwater torpedo. However, researchers at the University of Melbourne in Australia have recently found a relationship between the unpredictable flows close to a surface and the smooth, predictable flow patterns away from the surface. Engineers, equipped with this improved understanding of large-scale flow environments, will be able to design large systems that operate more effectively and efficiently in these environments.

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Category: Fluidics, Mechanical

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Basic Mechanical Engineering is a small endeavor for the mechanical engineering students and fresh graduates. All the articles are written by mechanical "rocking" engineers \m/

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