Date of Award

December 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biosystems Engineering

Committee Member

Andrew Richard Metcalf

Committee Member

Terry Walker

Committee Member

Ehsan Mousavi

Committee Member

Christophe Darnault


Ice nucleating particles have a great impact on weather and climate by affecting the freezing process of water in the atmosphere. Therefore, INP measurements are essential to developing more accurate climate models. Despite of the importance of INP measurements, available measurement techniques are costly, which leads to scarcity of available data. Microfluidic technology offers unique features including small scales and low fabrication costs; thus, can be used to design and develop an INP instrument with lower operation costs, which can enhance the number of INP measurements. In this study, we used a microfluidic platform that can be further developed to an INP instrument. Our initial experiments showed that droplet formation in the microfluidic system can be affected by external factors, such as vibration and heat transfer. We have performed numerical simulations to derive the equations that describe droplet properties (size, generation frequency, and velocity) as a function of flow rate ratio. The derived correlation can be used in designing a future INP measurement device that features a method to keep the consistency of droplet formation. Moreover, the effect of cooling on pressure inside the channel was studied and it was found that cooling increases the pressure inside the channel due to increasing the viscosity of the fluids.



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