Secondary Flow Mixing Due to Biofilm Growth in Capillaries of Varying Dimensions


Using a magnetic resonance microscopy (MRM) technique, velocity perturbations due to biofouling in capillaries were detected in 3D velocity maps. The velocity images in each of the three square capillary sizes (2, 0.9, and 0.5 mm i.d.) tested indicate secondary flow in both the x- and y-directions for the biofouled capillaries. Similar flow maps generated in a clean square capillary show only an axial component. Investigation of these secondary flows and their geometric and dynamic similarity is the focus of this study. The results showed significant secondary flows present in the 0.9 mm i.d. capillary, on the scale of 20% of the bulk fluid flow. Since this is the “standard 1 mm” size capillary used in confocal microscopy laboratory bioreactors to investigate biofilm properties, it is important to understand how these enhanced flows impact bioreactor transport.




Hornemann JA, Codd SL, Fell RJ, Stewart PS, Seymour JD. Secondary flow mixing due to biofilm growth in capillaries of varying dimensions. Biotechnology and Bioengineering; 2009 Jun 1;103(2):353–60. DOI: 10.1002/bit.22248
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