Detection of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) shows strong promise for early cancer diagnosis, and cell-deformation-based microfluidic CTC chips have been playing an important role. For the design and optimization of high-throughput CTC chips, the dynamic pressure drop in the microfluidic chip during the CTC passing process is a key parameter related to the device sensitivity and filtering performance and has to be given very serious consideration. Although insights have been provided by previous researches, there is still a lack of understanding of the fundamental physics and complex interplay between viscous tumor cell and the flow inside the microfluidic filtering channel. In this paper, the process of the viscous cell squeezing through a microchannel is modeled by solving the governing equations of microscopic multiphase flows, with the tumor cell modeled by a droplet model and the immiscible cell–blood interface tracked by the volume-of-fluid method. Detailed dynamics regarding the filtering process is discussed, including the cell deformation, flow characteristics, passing pressure characteristics as well as the relationship between the pressure drop across the device and the thin film formed in the filtration channel. Current simulation shows a good agreement with analytic results, and an analytical formula is proposed to predict the passing pressure in the microchannel. Our study provides insights into the fluid physics of a viscous cell passing through a constricted microchannel, and the proposed formula can be readily applied to the design and optimization of cell-deformation-based microchannels for CTC detection.
Microfluids and Nanofluids – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 18, 2017
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