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Numerial study of induced charge electroosmosis and its applications Open Access


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Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Jain, Mranal
Supervisor and department
Yeung, Tony (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Nandakumar, Krishnaswamy (Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University / Professor Emeritus, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta)
Examining committee member and department
Nandakumar, Krishnaswamy (Chemical Engineering, Louisiana State University / Professor Emeritus, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Alberta)
Nazemifard, Neda (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Sengupta, Shramik (Biological Engineering, University of Missouri)
Mitra, Shushanta K. (Mechanical Engineering)
Yeung, Tony (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices promises automation of conventional bio-analytical laboratory tests with little reagent/ sample usage. These devices however require pumping and mixing of samples/reagents in order to attain desired functionalities. Therefore, study of fluid flow at micron length scales, microfluidics, is critical for LOC devices. As the dimensions shrink, the relative importance of surface forces /effects increases with respect to volumetric forces. Due to smaller length scales, there exist several challenges such as: (a) mixing and pumping of fluids where conventional (macroscopic) techniques are not useful or applicable; (b) identifying innovative techniques for fluid manipulation which scales appropriately with the device dimensions. A variety of strategies have been developed for microscopic fluid manipulation. However, electrokinetics is the preferred flow driving mechanism owing to its non-mechanical nature and ease of flow control. On the downside, the plug flow type profile in electrokinetic flow results in poor mixing conditions. Mixing is a key step in realizing fast analysis time in many bio-chemical, biological and detection applications of LOC devices. This dissertation deals with the study of induced charge electro-osmosis (ICEO) and its possible applications in microfluidic devices. ICEO is a non-linear variant of classical electrokinetics and deals with electrically induced fluid flow over polarizable surfaces. Initially, theoretical models were developed for induced charge electro-osmotic (ICEO) flow and validated against reported analytical results. A geometrically simple design is proposed for efficient micromixing using ICEO flows. The proposed device is further optimized using NURBS based shape optimization techniques. The transition of optimal shapes from a diffusive regime to an ICEO-dominant regime was demonstrated while identifying rectangular shape and right triangle shape as optimal for diffusive and ICEO dominant regime respectively. For comparison of various parallel flow micro-mixers, a new mixing performance index was developed based on normalized residence time. The proposed comparative mixing index (CMI) is utilized for characterization of various micro-mixing techniques and subsequently, limitations associated with existing mixing performance indicators were identified. Lastly, a concentration gradient generator device is designed based on ICEO flow. The proposed device was found to be superior to existing designs in terms of dynamic controllability due to ICEO flow characteristics. In general, this study demonstrates the use of ICEO for inducing localized variations in fluid flow and utilizes such tailored flow characteristics for attaining specific tasks such as mixing and gradient generation. The presented methodology would be useful in designing micro-devices as well as optimizing their performance.
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.
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