The Lab-On-a-Chip Application Development (LOCAD) team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is utilizing Lab-On-a-Chip to support technology development specifically for Space Exploration. In this paper, we investigate the transient two-phase flow patterns in an optic well configuration with an entrapped bubble through numerical simulation. Specifically, the filling processes of a liquid inside an expanded chamber that has bubbles entrapped. Due to the back flow created by channel expansion, the entrapped bubbles tend to stay stationary at the immediate downstream of the expansion. Due to the huge difference between the gas and liquid densities, mass conservation issues associated with numerical diffusion need to be specially addressed. The results are presented in terms of the movement of the bubble through the optic well. Bubble removal strategies are developed that involve only pressure gradients across the optic well. Results show that for the bubble to be moved through the well, pressure pulsations must be utilized in order to create pressure gradients across the bubble itself.

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