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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Microdrops and Digital Microfluidics" by Jean Berthier

After a brief introduction to the development of microfluids, the author dives right into the subject matter. Microfluids are distinguished from microdrops, and many laws are given. Many aspects of chemistry, physics, and biology are interspersed as nano-bubbles, tension, adhesion, cohesion, motion, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, mixing, and acoustics are delved into. While each chapter is interesting on its own, the most intriguing parts have to do with examples such as bugs that walk on water, flow in capillaries of the human body, water drops in suspension, and flows that can only be described with topology.

This blue hardcover book leaves much to the imagination with no cover picture whatsoever. The weight of the book is light for conventional textbooks, and the size is fairly small. There are ten chapters, as well as reference lists and an index. Inside chapters, there are subchapters and sub-subchapters. Each chapter has a summary and conclusions. These wrap up the main ideas but do not reiterate primary vocabulary or equations. There are many pictures in the book, but only some of them are in color. This may either annoy the reader or make them perk up every so often when a splash of color punches their retina. Charts and graphs are included with captions. They are not explained in terms of how to interpret them, but they are pretty straightforward, so there should not be any trouble there.

This book reads like a collection of research papers. While ideas and conclusions are spelled out for the reader, not everything is crystal clear. This book would be best for graduate students and research professors. Higher level undergraduates will understand the material in the book, but they may have to look up terms. As for the mathematics, all pertinent equations are given, along with select theorems and such. However, there are not many derivations given. Readers just have to take the math at face value and trust that it is right. For those that like to see every little detail for the creation of equations, this book may perturb them. Also, while ideas are explained, there are no side notes or vocabulary terms in bold with definitions. The author assumes readers know at least the vernacular of the subject matter in this book.

While it is an excellent resource, this book does not entirely stand on its own. The developments given are praiseworthy—sure—but the reader is assumed to be well versed in microfluids. There are many real-world applications included. Additionally, with equations, charts, graphs, and diagrams, this book will probably used to glean pictures from when writing research papers on microfluids. What’s also unique is that the book goes into digital microfluids. While there are not huge lists of programming codes, the main differences, advantages, and disadvantages of regular fluids versus digital microfluids are given. Also, many experimental results are given both in terms of actual experiments and simulation-based ones. The good thing about this resource is that each chapter is not too drawn out. In an almost curt fashion, readers who are researching a particular microfluid topic get the information they need without any fluff.

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