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  • Journal of Fluid Mechanics, Volume 509
  • June 2004, pp. 217-252

Induced-charge electro-osmosis

  • TODD M. SQUIRES (a1) and MARTIN Z. BAZANT (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 June 2004

We describe the general phenomenon of ‘induced-charge electro-osmosis’ (ICEO) – the nonlinear electro-osmotic slip that occurs when an applied field acts on the ionic charge it induces around a polarizable surface. Motivated by a simple physical picture, we calculate ICEO flows around conducting cylinders in steady (DC), oscillatory (AC), and suddenly applied electric fields. This picture, and these systems, represent perhaps the clearest example of nonlinear electrokinetic phenomena. We complement and verify this physically motivated approach using a matched asymptotic expansion to the electrokinetic equations in the thin-double-layer and low-potential limits. ICEO slip velocities vary as $u_s \,{\propto}\,E_0^2 L$, where $E_0$ is the field strength and $L$ is a geometric length scale, and are set up on a time scale $\tau_c \,{=}\,\lambda_D L/D$, where $\lambda_D$ is the screening length and $D$ is the ionic diffusion constant. We propose and analyse ICEO microfluidic pumps and mixers that operate without moving parts under low applied potentials. Similar flows around metallic colloids with fixed total charge have been described in the Russian literature (largely unnoticed in the West). ICEO flows around conductors with fixed potential, on the other hand, have no colloidal analogue and offer further possibilities for microfluidic applications.

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Journal of Fluid Mechanics
  • ISSN: 0022-1120
  • EISSN: 1469-7645
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-fluid-mechanics
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