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Microfluidic flow focusing is a versatile method for the production of monodisperse microbubbles for biomedical applications involving ultrasound. Existing studies propose several theoretical models to predict bubble size and production rate as a function of the liquid and gas flow rate. Yet, they typically do not include physical fluid parameters such as density, viscosity and surface tension. Here, we present an exhaustive experimental and numerical investigation of the influence of physical properties of the gas and liquid, and of the channel geometry on bubble size and production rate. We find a particularly strong effect of (i) gas density on the production rate and (ii) liquid viscosity on the bubble size. We further discuss our findings within the context of existing theoretical models to reflect on gaps in our current understanding of the fluid mechanics of bubble formation by flow focusing.
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