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Fully Developed Flow of Power-Law Fluid Through a Cylindrical Microfluidic Pipe: Pressure Drop and Electroviscous Effects

[+] Author Affiliations
Ram P. Bharti, Dalton J. E. Harvie, Malcolm R. Davidson

University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC, Australia

Paper No. FEDSM2008-55128, pp. 223-232; 10 pages
  • ASME 2008 Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting collocated with the Heat Transfer, Energy Sustainability, and 3rd Energy Nanotechnology Conferences
  • Volume 1: Symposia, Parts A and B
  • Jacksonville, Florida, USA, August 10–14, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4840-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3832-3
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Pressure drop and electroviscous effects in the axisymmetric, steady, fully developed, pressure-driven flow of incompressible power-law fluids through a cylindrical microchannel at low Reynolds number (Re = 0.01 ) have been investigated. The Poisson-Boltzmann equation (describing the electrical potential) and the momentum equations in conjunction with electrical force and power-law fluid rheology have been solved numerically using the finite difference method. The pipe wall is considered to have uniform surface charge density (S = 4 ) and the liquid is assumed to be a symmetric electrolyte solution. In particular, the influence of the dimensionless inverse Debye length (K = 2 , 20 ) and power-law flow behaviour index (n = 0.2 , 1 , 1.8 ) on the EDL potential, ion concentrations and charge density profiles, induced electrical field strength, velocity and viscosity profiles and pressure drop have been studied. As expected, the local EDL potential, local charge density and electrical field strength increases with decreasing K and/or increasing S. The velocity profiles cross-over away from the charged pipe wall with increasing K and/or decreasing n. The maximum velocity at the center of the pipe increases with increasing n and/or increasing S and/or decreasing K. The shear-thinning fluid viscosity is strongly dependent on K and S, whereas the shear-thickening viscosity is very weakly dependent on K and S. For fixed K, as the fluid behaviour changes from Newtonian (n = 1 ) to shear-thinning (n < 1 ), the induced electrical field strength increases and maximum velocity reduces. On the other hand, the change in fluid behaviour from Newtonian (n = 1 ) to shear-thickening (n > 1 ) decreases the electrical field strength and increases the maximum velocity. The non-Newtonian effects on maximum velocity and pressure drop are stronger in shear-thinning fluids at small K and large S, the shear-thickening fluids show opposite influence. Electroviscous effects enhance with decreasing K and/or increasing S. The electroviscous effects show complex dependence on the non-Newtonian tendency of the fluids. The shear-thickening (n > 1 ) fluids and/or smaller K show stronger influence on the pressure drop and thus, enhance the electroviscous effects than that in shear-thinning (n < 1 ) fluids and/or large K where EDL is very thin.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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