A simultaneous measurement technique for the velocity and pH distribution was developed by using a confocal microscope and a 3CCD color camera for investigations of a chemical reacting flow field in a microchannel. Micron-resolution particle image velocimetry and laser induced fluorescence were utilized for the velocity and pH measurement, respectively. The present study employed fluorescent particles with 1 μm diameter and Fluorescein sodium salt whose fluorescent intensity increases with an increase in pH value over the range of pH 5.0-9.0. The advantages of the present system are to separate the fluorescence of particles from that of dye by using the 3CCD color camera and to provide the depth resolution of 5.0 μm by the confocal microscope. The measurement uncertainties of the velocity and pH measurements were estimated to be 5.5 μm/s and pH 0.23, respectively. Two aqueous solutions at different pH values were introduced into a T-shaped microchannel. The mixing process in the junction area was investigated by the present technique, and the effect of the chemical reaction on the pH gradient was discussed by a comparison between the proton concentration profiles obtained from the experimental pH distribution and those calculated from the measured velocity data. For the chemical reacting flow with the buffering action, the profiles from the numerical simulation showed smaller gradients compared with those from the experiments, because the production or extinction of protons was yielded by the chemical reaction. Furthermore, the convection of protons was evaluated from the velocity and pH distribution and compared with the diffusion. It is found that the ratio between the diffusion and convection is an important factor to investigate the mixing process in the microfluidic device with chemical reactions.
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