Nano- und Mikrofluidmechanik (B9)


The main research focus of this new group is on the numerical simulation of natural and engineering flows at small scales, a field known as microfluidics. Here viscous forces tend to dominate over inertial forces and volume forces that are usually dominant at large scales, such as gravity, play a minor role in comparison to surface forces such as capillarity. At even smaller (submicrometric) scales the continuum hypothesis breaks down and we enter the domain of nanofluidics, where the behavior of individual molecules must be considered. Microflows and nanoflows are relevant to a vast number of applications in chemical and biological analysis and medicine.

Besides microfluidics and nanofluidics, the group's research interests include shear and rotating flows, and heat transfer. Of particular interest here is the transition to turbulence as fluid velocities increase, a process crucial to fluid transport applications (pipelines) and also geophysical and astrophysical flows (accretion disks).

The research methodology of the group combines modeling and theory with accurate computer simulations of the equations of fluid motion. The results are analyzed with statistical and visualization tools to better understand the physics of fluids. In addition, we make use of dynamical systems and bifurcation theory to gain further understanding on the dynamics of the flows. Although the group focuses on numerical simulations, close collaboration with experiments is one of the pillars of our research.