The steady streaming (SS) phenomenon is gaining increased attention in the microfluidics community, because it can generate net mass flow from zero-mean vibration. We developed numerical simulation and experimental measurement tools to analyze this vibration-induced flow, which has been challenging due to its unsteady nature. The validity of these analysis methods is confirmed by comparing the three-dimensional (3D) flow field and the resulting particle trajectories induced around a cylindrical micro-pillar under circular vibration. In the numerical modeling, we directly solved the flow in the Lagrangian frame so that the substrate with a micro-pillar becomes stationary, and the results were converted to a stationary Eulerian frame to compare with the experimental results. The present approach enables us to avoid the introduction of a moving boundary or infinitesimal perturbation approximation. The flow field obtained by the micron-resolution particle image velocimetry (micro-PIV) measurement supported the three-dimensionality observed in the numerical results, which could be important for controlling the mass transport and manipulating particulate objects in microfluidic systems.
Keywords: acoustofluidics; micro-PIV; micro-pillar; numerical analysis; vibration-induced flow.