Direction dependence of displacement time for two-fluid electroosmotic flow
Lim, Chun Yee
Lam, Yee Cheong
Date of Issue2012
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Electroosmotic flow that involves one fluid displacing another fluid is commonly encountered in various microfludic applications and experiments, for example, current monitoring technique to determine zeta potential of microchannel. There is experimentally observed anomaly in such flow, namely, the displacement time is flow direction dependent, i.e., it depends if it is a high concentration fluid displacing a low concentration fluid, or vice versa. Thus, this investigation focuses on the displacement flow of two fluids with various concentration differences. The displacement time was determined experimentally with current monitoring method. It is concluded that the time required for a high concentration solution to displace a low concentration solution is smaller than the time required for a low concentration solution to displace a high concentration solution. The percentage displacement time difference increases with increasing concentration difference and independent of the length or width of the channel and the voltage applied. Hitherto, no theoretical analysis or numerical simulation has been conducted to explain this phenomenon. A numerical model based on finite element method was developed to explain the experimental observations. Simulations showed that the velocity profile and ion distribution deviate significantly from a single fluid electroosmotic flow. The distortion of ion distribution near the electrical double layer is responsible for the displacement time difference for the two different flow directions. The trends obtained from simulations agree with the experimental findings.
© 2012 American Institute of Physics. This paper was published in Biomicrofluidics and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Institute of Physics. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3665721]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.