Acoustophoretic particle focusing is a modern and very attractive method of removing a variety of objects from solutions in a microfluidic channel. The process is applicable to healthcare applications (malignant cell removal), academic research (nanoparticle separation), industrial applications (reclaiming of rare earths) and environmental applications (sequestration of suspended solids). This technology may be considered a very gentle process because it uses pressure pulses to move low volumes of fluids without any substantial contact.
FLOW-3D can be accurately used to model acoustophoresis processes to capture the forces acting on particles, directly as a result of flow dynamics, instead of using approximate analytical solutions. Setting up such simulations in FLOW-3D is straightforward because of elastic membrane model that can generate acoustic waves at a certain frequency.
This animation of acoutophoresis shows particles entering the computational domain at an off-center location in a microchannel of 500μm height and 2mm length. Under the influence of a standing acoustic wave at a frequency of 1Mhz, the particle are focused in the middle of the channel. Particle motion is captured through the course of 4000 periods.