Effective description of the interaction between anisotropic viscous fingers
Institute of Theoretical Physics, Faculty of Physics, University of Warsaw - Hoza 69, 00-618, Warsaw, Poland
Received: 11 July 2014
Accepted: 9 September 2014
We study patterns formed by viscous fingering in a rectangular network of microfluidic channels. Due to the strong anisotropy of such a system, the emerging patterns have a form of thin needle-like fingers, which interact with each other, competing for an available flow. We develop an upscaled description of this system in which only the fingers are tracked and the effective interactions between them are introduced, mediated through the evolving pressure field. Due to the quasi-2d geometry of the system, this is conveniently accomplished using conformal mapping techniques. A complex two-phase flow problem is thus reduced to a much simpler task of tracking evolving shapes in a 2d complex plane. This description, although simplified, turns out to capture all the key features of the system's dynamics and allows for the effective prediction of the resulting growth patterns.
PACS: 47.20.-k – Flow instabilities / 47.55.-t – Multiphase and stratified flows / 05.45.-a – Nonlinear dynamics and chaos
© EPLA, 2014