Numerical Investigation of Dynamics of Elliptical Magnetic Microparticles in Shear Flows


We study the rotational dynamics of magnetic prolate elliptical particles in a simple shear flow subjected to a uniform magnetic field, using direct numerical simulations based on the finite element method. Focusing on paramagnetic and ferromagnetic particles, we investigate the effects of the magnetic field strength and direction on their rotational dynamics. In the weak field regime (below a critical field strength), the particles are able to perform complete rotations, and the symmetry property of particle rotational speed is influenced by the direction and strength of the magnetic field. In the strong field regime (above a critical strength), the particles are pinned at steady angles. The steady angle depends on both the direction and strength of the magnetic field. Our results show that paramagnetic and ferromagnetic particles exhibit markedly different rotational dynamics in a uniform magnetic field. The numerical findings are in good agreement with theoretical prediction. Our numerical investigation further reveals drastically different lateral migration behaviors of paramagnetic and ferromagnetic particles in a wall-bounded simple shear flow under a uniform magnetic field. These two kinds of particles can thus be separated by combining a shear flow and a uniform magnetic field. We also study the lateral migration of paramagnetic and ferromagnetic particles in a pressure-driven flow (a more practical flow configuration in microfluidics), and observe similar lateral migration behaviors. These findings demonstrate a simple but useful way to manipulate non-spherical microparticles in microfluidic devices.


Mathematics and Statistics

Second Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Lateral migration; Magnetic particles; Microfluidics; Particle separation; Rotational dynamics

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1613-4982; 1613-4990

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2018