Microdroplet dynamics inside porous media

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In collaboration with Donaldson Inc., we are investigating the dynamics of microdroplet inside complex filter media through microfluidics and direct imaging. A depth coalescence filter is the current state-of-art in emulsion separation. Unlike barrier filters designed to keep the dispersed phase out, the depth coalescence filter “captures” the dispersed fluid and induces coalescence, which results in larger droplets or bubbles that sediment or rise by buoyancy when exiting the filter. By visualizing droplet dynamics inside an index-matched filter, we aim to identify the flow regimes and filter properties (e.g., wettability) that optimize droplet retention and coalescence.