Download the full-sized PDF of AC Electrokinetic Manipulation of Colloids during FiltrationDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Graduate Studies and Research, Faculty of


This file is in the following collections:

Theses and Dissertations

AC Electrokinetic Manipulation of Colloids during Filtration Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Molla, Shahnawaz Hossain
Supervisor and department
Subir Bhattacharjee (Mechanical Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Lianfa Song (Texas Tech)
Ken Cadien (Chemical Engineering)
David Nobes (Mechanical Engineering)
Robert Koch (Mechanical Engineering)
Mike Lipsett (Mechanical Engineering)
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The work presented in this dissertation provides a novel technique of manipulation of colloidal entities during membrane filtration based on an AC electrokinetic phenomenon called dielectrophoresis. First, the influence of dielectrophoretic (DEP) forces created on a membrane surface to levitate colloidal particles is studied both theoretically and experimentally. A numerical model based on the convection-diffusion-migration equation is presented to calculate the concentration distribution of colloidal particles in shear flow under the influence of a repulsive DEP force field. The simulation results indicate that particle accumulation on the membrane (or membrane fouling) during filtration can be averted by creating a repulsive DEP force field on the membrane surface. Corresponding experimental study employs a microelectrode array on a glass surface in a tangential flow cell, to apply repulsive DEP forces on polystyrene particles suspended in an aqueous medium. Applying a non-uniform AC electric field on the microelectrodes generates the DEP force field that levitates the polystyrene particles above the surface. This study indicates that the repulsive dielectrophoretic forces imparted on the particles suspended in the feed can be employed to effectively mitigate membrane fouling in a crossflow membrane filtration process. The second phase of the study is aimed at controlling colloid transport through a microporous membrane using DEP forces acting across the pores. A theoretical analysis of colloid transport through straight cylindrical capillaries in the presence of a non-uniform AC electric field is developed. Numerical simulations demonstrate that the interaction of the particles with the electric field generates strong repulsive DEP forces, acting selectively on the colloidal particles to control particle transport through the pore. A combination of DEP forces and size exclusion in porous material is proposed to develop an energy efficient technique for colloid filtration. Experimental results on this steric-dielectrophoretic filtration are also obtained using novel ``sandwich membranes" and colloidal suspensions in a dead-end filtration system. The primary advantage of this steric-dielectrophoretic mechanism is that the filtration can be achieved by filter media (such as membranes) that have considerably larger pore sizes than the retained colloids. The technique can also result in tunable filtration mechanisms, where particles with same size but different electrical properties can be separated using suitably designed membranes.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 5229578
Last modified: 2015:10:12 12:57:30-06:00
Filename: Molla_Shahnawaz_Fall 2009.pdf
Original checksum: ff669c4582d573b9bc50333fcffccff2
Well formed: false
Valid: false
Status message: Invalid page tree node offset=128415
Status message: Unexpected error in findFonts java.lang.ClassCastException: edu.harvard.hul.ois.jhove.module.pdf.PdfSimpleObject cannot be cast to edu.harvard.hul.ois.jhove.module.pdf.PdfDictionary offset=4358
Status message: Invalid name tree offset=5213163
Status message: Invalid name tree offset=5213163
Status message: Invalid name tree offset=5213163
File title: FGSR Title Page_titlewithout
Page count: 33
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date