(532h) Droplet Formation of H2SO4/Alkane System in a T-Junction Microchannel: Gravity Effect

Authors: 
Li, L., Tsinghua University
Luo, G., Tsinghua University
Wang, K., Tsinghua University
Xu, J., The State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University
A special system of concentrated sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and n-hexane was used to study the droplet formation in a glass T-junction microchannel with H2SO4 as the continuous phase. The effects of capillary number, flow ratio, and viscosity ratio on the droplet formation were investigated. The effect of gravity was explored by changing the flow direction in the microchannel. Results showed that the formation of transition flow pattern from squeezing to dripping is much easier for this special system compared with common aqueous/organic systems. This phenomenon is due to the considerably higher viscosity of H2SO4 than that of common aqueous phase and the higher density difference of the system compared with those of common systems. In addition to capillary number and flow ratio, gravity evidently affects the formation of droplets and flow patterns. The droplet size is smaller than that during the horizontal flow when the flow direction is consistent with gravity. By contrast, flow direction contrary to that of gravity results in larger droplet size than that at horizontal flow. This phenomenon provides guidance on the operation of these special systems in microchannels. Finally, mathematical models of droplet size at different flow patterns have been established, and these models can predict droplet size very well. This study could be helpful to extend the application of microreactors to new working systems.
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