Journal of Fluid Mechanics


Simulation of gas flow in microchannels with a sudden expansion or contraction

a1 Discipline of Mechanical Engineering, University of Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia

Article author query
agrawal a   [Google Scholar] 
djenidi l   [Google Scholar] 
antonia ra   [Google Scholar] 


Two-dimensional simulations based on the isothermal lattice-Boltzmann method have been undertaken on microchannels with a sudden expansion or contraction. The study provides insight into the analysis of flows in complicated microdevices. The flow is pressure driven, and computations are performed for several Knudsen numbers, and area and pressure ratios, allowing the effects of compressibility and rarefaction to be assessed. The pressure drop for both the converging and diverging channels shows a discontinuity in slope at the junction, and is accompanied by a jump in velocity. The pressure drop in each section can be predicted well by the theory for straight channels. The mass flow ratio between converging and diverging channels is close to unity, and the streamlines are attached in both cases. It is deduced that compressibility and rarefaction have opposite effects on the flow. These results suggest that complex channels of the type considered here can be understood in terms of their primary units, and they experience only small secondary losses.

(Published Online May 10 2005)
(Received December 15 2003)
(Revised January 17 2005)

p1 Present address: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai 400076, India.