Drop formation in microfluidic cross-junction: jetting to dripping to jetting transition

Nina M. Kovalchuk, Masanobu Sagisaka, Kasparas Steponavicius, Daniele Vigolo, Mark J. H. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
221 Downloads (Pure)


The regimes of drop generation were studied in a Dolomite microfluidic device which combined both hydrodynamic and geometrical flow focusing over a broad range of flow rates. A series of aqueous dispersed phases were used with a viscosity ratio between continuous and dispersed phases of close to unity. Surfactants were added to alter the interfacial tension. It was shown that the transition from dripping to jetting is well described by the capillary numbers of both the dispersed and continuous phases. Only the jetting regime was observed if the capillary number of the dispersed phase was above a critical value, whereas at smaller values of this parameter a jetting → dripping → jetting transition was observed by increasing the capillary number of the continuous phase. The analysis performed has shown that the conditions for a dripping to jetting transition at moderate and large values of the capillary number of the continuous phase can be predicted theoretically by comparison of the characteristic time scales for drop pinch-off and jet growth, whereas the transition at small values cannot. It is suggested that this transition is geometry mediated and is a result of the interplay of jet confinement in the focusing part and a decrease of confinement following entry into the main channel. The flow fields inside the jet of the dispersed phase were qualitatively different for small and large values of the capillary number of the continuous phase revealing the relative contribution of the dispersed phase flow in jet formation. The volume of the drops formed in the jetting regime increased as a power law function of the flow rate ratio of the dispersed to continuous phase, independent of the interfacial tension.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalMicrofluidics and Nanofluidics
Issue number8
Early online date31 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • Capillary number
  • Drop size
  • Flow focusing
  • Flow map
  • Interfacial tension
  • Regime transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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