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Colloidal Jamming Dynamics in Microchannel Bottlenecks

Sendekie, Zenamarkos B., Bacchin, Patrice
Langmuir 2016 v.32 no.6 pp. 1478-1488
filters, filtration, hydrodynamics, ionic strength, microparticles, permeability
The purpose of this work is to examine the interplay between hydrodynamic conditions and physicochemical interactions from filtration experiments of microparticles. Experiments are performed in microfluidic filters with real-time visualization at pore scale. Both flow rate and pressure are measured with time to analyze the dynamics of pore clogging and permeability. Flux stepping experiments are performed at different physicochemical conditions to determine the different clogging conditions. The results allow distinguishing different clogging behaviors according to filtration conditions which are discussed by considering particle–particle and particle–wall colloidal interactions whose main characteristics are an important repulsive barrier at 0.01 mM, a significant secondary minimum at 10 mM, and low repulsive barrier at 100 mM. Clogging delay at moderate ionic strength and deposit fragility and associated sweeping out of aggregates of particles at high ionic strength are discussed from the deposit structure, specific resistance, and deposit relaxation analyses. It has also been observed that an opening angle at microchannel entrance causes rapid clogging, this effect being more pronounced when the repulsion is partially screened. Three different scenarios are discussed by analogy to crowd swarming: panic scenario (0.01 mM) where repulsion between particles induce pushing effects leading to the creation of robust arches at pore entrances; herding instinct scenario (10 mM) where the attraction (in secondary minima) between particles enhances the transport in pores and delays clogging; and sacrifice scenario (100 mM) where the capture efficiency is high but the aggregate formed at the wall is fragile.