On electro-osmotic flows through microchannel junctions

G. Yossifon*, I. Frankel, T. Miloh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the electro-osmotic flow through a T-junction of microchannels whose dielectric walls are weakly polarizable. The present global analysis thus extends earlier studies in the literature concerning the local flow of an unbounded electrolyte solution around nearly insulated wedges. The velocity field is obtained via superposition of an irrotational part associated with the equilibrium zeta potential and the induced-charge electro-osmotic flow originating from the interaction of the externally applied electric field and the charge cloud it induces owing to field leakage through the polarizable dielectric channel walls. Along the channel walls the latter component gives rise to fluid velocities converging toward the corner which dominate the flow in its immediate vicinity. Recent experimental observations in the literature regarding the appearance and subsequent expansion of flow reversal and vortices downstream (initially) and upstream (subsequently) of the junction, are both rationalized in terms of the growing relative importance of this induced contribution to the global velocity field with increasing intensity of the externally applied electric field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117108
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


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