This paper presents experimental results concerning water flow in smooth and rough rectangular micro-channels. It is part of a work intended to test the classical fluid mechanics laws when the characteristic length scale of inner liquid flows falls below 500μm. The method consists in determining experimental friction coefficients as a function of the Reynolds number. This implies simultaneous measurements of pressure drop and flow rates in microstructures. The two experimental apparatus used in this study enabled us to explore a wide range of length scales (7μm to 300μm) and of Reynolds number (0.01 to 8,000). Classical machining technologies were used to make micro-channels of various heights down to a scale of 100μm. Smaller silicon-Pyrex micro-channels were also made by means of silicon-based micro technologies. In these structures, friction coefficients have been measured locally with Cu-Ni strain gauges. For every height tested, both smooth and rough walls were successively used. When compared to macro-scale correlation the results demonstrate that i) In the smooth case, friction is correctly predicted by the Navier-Stokes equations with the classical kinematic boundary conditions, ii) For 200μm high channels, visualizations show transition to turbulence at Reynolds number of about 3,000. The presence of roughness elements did not significantly influence this result and iii) Roughness considerably increases the friction coefficient in the laminar regime. However, the Poiseuille number remains independent of the Reynolds number.

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