Applications of microfluidic devices in food engineering. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11483-007-9043-6Revista : Food Biophysics
Volumen : 3
Número : 1
Páginas : 1-15
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación
The design of novel food microstructures aimed at the quality, health and pleasure markets will probably require of unit operations where the scale of the forming device is closer to the size of the structural elements (i.e., 1-100 m). One emerging possibility is microfluidics, or devices that employ small amounts of fluids (10-6 to 10-9 litres) flowing in channels where at least one dimension is less than 1 mm. However, under these conditions the predominant effects are not necessarily those present in conventional macroscopic unit operations. Dominant physical effects at the microfluidic scale are introduced through the use of dimensionless numbers. Different types of geometries to generate multiphase flows in microchannels, techniques and materials to construct the microdevices, principally soft lithography and laser ablation, as well as methods used to modify surface properties of channels, are reviewed. The operation of microdevices, the role of flow regimes, rheological behaviour of fluids in microchannels and of transient time is discussed. Finally, systems developed to generate emulsions and foams, fluid mixing and dispersion, and future applications of these devices in food processing and food analysis are presented.