Pinning and Avalanches in Hydrophobic Microchannels
Rare events appear in a wide variety of phenomena such as rainfall, floods, earthquakes, and risk. We demonstrate that the stochastic behavior induced by the natural roughening present in standard microchannels is so important that the dynamics for the advancement of a water front displacing air has plenty of rare events. We observe that for low pressure differences the hydrophobic interactions of the water front with the walls of the microchannel put the front close to the pinning point. This causes a burstlike dynamics, characterized by series of pinning and avalanches, that leads to an extreme-value Gumbel distribution for the velocity fluctuations and a nonclassical time exponent for the advancement of the mean front position as low as 0.38.
Dynamic characterization of permeabilities and flows in microchannels
We make an analytical study of the nonsteady flow of Newtonian fluids in microchannels. We consider the slip boundary condition at the solid walls with Navier hypothesis and calculate the dynamic permeability, which gives the system’s response to dynamic pressure gradients. We find a scaling relation in the absence of slip that is broken in its presence. We discuss how this might be useful to experimentally determine—by means of microparticle image velocimetry technology—whether slip exists or not in a system, the value of the slip length, and the validity of Navier hypothesis in dynamic situations.