Magnetic fluid driven flow in a capillary channel

Nickolaus M. Bruno, Constantin Ciocanel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


This paper presents simulated and experimental results on the flow induced in a closed channel by a magnetic fluid (i.e. magnetorheological (MR) fluid and a ferrofluid) plunger. The results are used to assess the feasibility of using such fluids for development of milli-micro-scale pumps. The magnetic fluid plunger acts as a piston that is moved along the channel by an array of drive coils (or by a permanent magnet) to displace an immiscible fluid. The excited drive coils produce a traveling magnetic field wave inside the channel which in turn produces magnetic dipoles in the magnetic fluid. The dipoles react with the traveling wave leading to a Kelvin force that drags the magnetic fluid plunger through the channel. The flow rates achievable in this approach are a function of channel geometry, magnetic fluid properties, plug size, frequency of the current passing through the drive coils, and the location of the drive coils along the channel. Representative results of the analysis of the effect of these parameters on the flow rates are presented here. While the simulations indicate that both, MR and ferrofluids may be used for fluid actuation in the selected geometry, the experiments validated only the MR fluid option.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationActive and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2010
EditionPART 1
StatePublished - 2010
EventActive and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2010 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 8 2010Mar 11 2010

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
NumberPART 1
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherActive and Passive Smart Structures and Integrated Systems 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Channel flow
  • Ferrofluid
  • MR Fluid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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