Applications of Topology Optimization in the Design of Micro- and Nanofluidic Systems

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The material distribution method in topology optimization was developed in the late 1980ies for stiffness design of mechanical structures, and only recently the first steps have been taken towards implementing the method in fluidics. Topology optimization can be used to determine optimal fluidic networks with respect to some given objective for given constraints without requiring any prior knowledge of neither the shape nor the topology of the solution. We present a versatile high-level programming-language implementation of non-linear topology optimization, using the commercial software package FEMLAB. We have validated our method by studies of pure Navier-Stokes flow problems such as a fluid channel with maximal reverse velocity at a selected point, and a medium Reynolds number fluidic diode. Recently, we have extended our implementation to include other fields such as temperature and concentrations of solutes. We present results for optimization of a microfluidic cooling-device, which has applications for e.g. CPU cooling and micro heat-couplers. We also discuss the related problem of optimizing the efficiency of microreactors for exothermic chemical processes by optimizing the flow of cooling liquids in the walls of the reactor.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 1, Technical Proceedings of the 2005 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 1
Published: May 8, 2005
Pages: 575 - 578
Industry sector: Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topic: Micro & Bio Fluidics, Lab-on-Chip
ISBN: 0-9767985-0-6