Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Baskar Ganapathysubramanian


The ability to sculpt inertially flowing fluid via bluff body obstacles has enormous promise for applications in bioengineering, chemistry, and manufacturing within microfluidic devices. However, the computational difficulty inherent to full scale 3-dimensional fluid flow simulations makes designing and optimizing such systems tedious, costly, and generally tasked to computational experts with access to high performance resources. The goal of this work is to construct efficient models for the design of inertial microfluidic flow sculpting devices, and implement these models in freely available, user-friendly software for the broader microfluidics community. Two software packages were developed to accomplish this: "uFlow" and "FlowSculpt". uFlow solves the forward problem in flow sculpting, that of predicting the net deformation from an arbitrary sequence of obstacles (pillars), and includes estimations of transverse mass diffusion and particles formed by optical lithography. FlowSculpt solves the more difficult inverse problem in flow sculpting, which is to design a flow sculpting device which produces a target flow shape. Each piece of software uses efficient, experimentally validated forward models developed within this work, which are applied to deep learning techniques to explore other routes to solving the inverse problem. The models are also highly modular, capable of incorporating new microfluidic components and flow physics to the design process. It is anticipated that the microfluidics community will integrate the tools developed here into their own research, and bring new designs, components, and applications to the inertial flow sculpting platform.


Copyright Owner

Daniel James Stoecklein



File Format


File Size

187 pages