Microfluidics is a rapidly growing technology for the fabrication of miniature devices using processes similar to those used in the integrated circuit industry. Microfluidics technology provides a way to integrate mechanical, fluidic, optical, and electronic functionality on very small devices, ranging from 0.1 microns to one millimeter. Microfluidic devices have two important advantages over conventional counterparts. First, they can be fabricated in large numbers, so that cost of production can be reduced substantially. Second, they can be directly incorporated into integrated circuits, so that far more complicated systems can be made than with other technologies.
As with other production techniques, however, the microfluidics design process can be very costly, as engineers and scientists design, fabricate, test and then redesign a device in order to optimize its performance. Numerical simulation can provide quantitative analysis and significant insight across such disciplines as electronics, mechanics, chemistry, thermal science and fluid science. Using FLOW-3D as a flow simulation tool can help to substantially reduce the cost of design and production.