Numerical Study of Joule Heating Effects on Microfluidics Device Reliability in Electrode Based Devices

Materials (Basel). 2021 Oct 5;14(19):5819. doi: 10.3390/ma14195819.


In electrode-based microfluidic devices, micro channels having narrow cross sections generate undesirable temperature inside the microfluidic device causing strong thermal distribution (joule heating) that eventually leads to device damage or cell loss. In this work, we investigate the effects of joule heating due to different electrode configuration and found that, electrodes with triangular arrangements produce less heating effect even at applied potential of 30 V, without compromising the performance of the device and separation efficiency. However, certain electrode materials have low thermal gradients but erode the channel quickly thereby affecting the reliability of the device. Our simulation also predicts optimal medium conductivity (10 mS/m with 10 V) for cells to survive inside the channel until they are selectively isolated into the collection outlet. Our investigations will aid the researchers in the designing of efficient and reliable microfluidic devices to overcome joule heating inside the microchannels.

Keywords: DEP based devices; cell separation; device reliability; joule’s heating; microfluidics.