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Electrokinetic Flow Instability in High Concentration Gradient Microflows

[+] Author Affiliations
Chuan-Hua Chen, Juan G. Santiago

Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Paper No. IMECE2002-33563, pp. 415-418; 4 pages
  • ASME 2002 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Fluids Engineering
  • New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, November 17–22, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3657-6 | eISBN: 0-7918-1691-5, 0-7918-1692-3, 0-7918-1693-1
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


This paper documents the scalar imaging of an electrokinetic flow instability that is directly relevant to microfluidic systems that aim to handle and analyze heterogeneous sample streams. The instability occurs in simple T-junctions where two streams of different ionic concentration flow into a common channel. Using neutral dye visualizations, general qualitative behavior of the instability is documented including the formation of a wave in the stream/stream material line that originates at the junction of the two channels and propagates downstream. Several quantitative properties of this phenomenon are measured including wave speed and the extent of the perturbation boundary. This work is part of an ongoing project to identify the physics of this instability and determine the regime of stability, with an ultimate goal of developing methods to either enhance or suppress the instability.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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