Single-Course English 5 ECTS

Theoretical microfluidics

Overall Course Objectives

The course introduces advanced theoretical topics in microfluidics, i.e., the dynamics of viscous fluid flow at the sub-millimeter scale under the influence of different physical forces. You will obtain a solid theoretical basis and a good starting point for subsequent project work on fluid physics, biological fluid dynamics, or lab-on-a-chip systems.

Learning Objectives

  • Derive the Navier-Stokes (NS) equation and the continuity equation from basic principles
  • Derive the advection-diffusion (AD) equation from basic principles
  • Explain the physics of important dimensionless numbers in microfluidics
  • Set up and solve models of microfluidic flows using the NS equation
  • Set up and solve advection-diffusion models of solute transport using the AD equation
  • Describe the basic physical principles of interactions between fluids and soft materials
  • Apply the NS equation to microfluidic flows in living cells
  • Explain the physics of common particle transport mechanisms in microfluidics
  • Communicate methods, results, and conclusions in writing based on a specific physical system

Course Content

Microfluidics plays a crucial role in uncovering new flow phenomena, in developing theoretical models and experiments at the interface between physics, engineering, and biology, and in designing lab-on-a-chip systems that integrate entire laboratories on single microchips.

The course will help you develop your theoretical skills and physical understanding of fluid dynamics at the microscale. You will learn the basic theory of fluid dynamics, i.e., the transport equations for mass, momentum, and solutes. You will get acquainted with some of the dimensionless numbers that characterize fluid flows, and you will learn how to use them for setting up and analysing models in microfluidics. Progressively, you will learn methods to handle advanced microfluidic effects, including flows in complex channel geometries. Finally, you will learn how to apply microfluidics to technical and biological systems.

Recommended prerequisites

10033/10034/10036/01005/01035, Or equivalent courses. Especially mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, vector analysis, ordinary and partial differential equations

Teaching Method

The teaching will consist of a mixture of lectures and work with problems. Central in the course are two project-based homework problems with focus on questions of current research interest. The solutions of the two homework problems are graded and count as part of the final grade.



Theoretical Microfluidics (10337) and Continuum Physics (10346) are independent. The courses only overlap in the introduction to the fundamental fluid dynamics equations.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 10337
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 35
Semester end Week 48
Days Tues 13-17

7.500,00 DKK