Dynamic flow characteristics and design principles of laminar flow microbial fuel cells

Way Lee Cheng, Celal Erbay, Reza Sadr, Arum Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Laminar flow microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are used to understand the role of microorganisms, and their interactions with electrodes in microbial bioelectrochemical systems. In this study, we reported the flow characteristics of laminar flow in a typical MFC configuration in a non-dimensional form, which can serve as a guideline in the design of such microfluidic systems. Computational fluid dynamics simulations were performed to examine the effects of channel geometries, surface characteristics, and fluid velocity on the mixing dynamics in microchannels with a rectangular cross-section. The results showed that decreasing the fluid velocity enhances mixing but changing the angle between the inlet channels, only had strong effects when the angle was larger than 135°. Furthermore, different mixing behaviors were observed depending on the angle of the channels, when the microchannel aspect ratio was reduced. Asymmetric growth of microbial biofilm on the anode side skewed the mixing zone and wall roughness due to the bacterial attachment, which accelerated the mixing process and reduced the efficiency of the laminar flow MFC. Finally, the magnitude of mass diffusivity had a substantial effect on mixing behavior. The results shown here provided both design guidelines, as well as better understandings of the MFCs due to microbial growth.

Original languageEnglish
Article number479
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2018



  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Laminar flow microbial fuel cell
  • Microfluidics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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