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CFD-Assisted Design and Optimization of a Pharmacokinetic Microfluidic System

M. Moeini Sedeh, J.M. Khodadadi, J.W. Hong, K.A. Cramer, M. Hamon
Auburn University, US

Keywords: microfluidics, CFD, design, optimization, fluid flow, modeling, simulation


In this research, a microfluidic system was designed and optimized to carry out in vitro pharmacokinetic studies of drug candidates in the liver. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was called on to assist in the system design process and was used as a tool to investigate the flow field within the microfluidic passageways. The ultimate goal is to enhance the desired flow characteristics based on the required conditions for cells inside the system. A three-dimensional model was developed for exact representation of the microfluidic system and capability of showing all the details of flow field. Then, grid independence study was performed for different meshes to find which size of grid is suitable and error-free for CFD analyses. Finally CFD simulation of the microfluidic system was conducted in similar experimental conditions. The numerical results were verified in comparison with experimental results, obtained from particle tracking and image analysis. Finally, flow field details, exchange of fluid and nutrients within the microfluidic device, and dead-zones (where flow is quiescent and cells cannot be fed properly) were specified as crucial characteristics of the flow field inside the microfluidic system. Based on these characteristics, necessary modifications to optimize the current device were proposed.
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