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Characterization of the startup transient electrokinetic flow in rectangular channels of arbitrary dimensions, zeta potential distribution, and time‐varying pressure gradient

Miller, Andrew, Villegas, Arturo, Javier Diez, F.
Electrophoresis 2015 v.36 no.5 pp. 692-702
electrophoresis, prediction, quartz, zeta potential
The solution to the startup transient EOF in an arbitrary rectangular microchannel is derived analytically and validated experimentally. This full 2D transient solution describes the evolution of the flow through five distinct periods until reaching a final steady state. The derived analytical velocity solution is validated experimentally for different channel sizes and aspect ratios under time‐varying pressure gradients. The experiments used a time resolved micro particle image velocimetry technique to calculate the startup transient velocity profiles. The measurements captured the effect of time‐varying pressure gradient fields derived in the analytical solutions. This is tested by using small reservoirs at both ends of the channel which allowed a time‐varying pressure gradient to develop with a time scale on the order of the transient EOF. Results showed that under these common conditions, the effect of the pressure build up in the reservoirs on the temporal development of the transient startup EOF in the channels cannot be neglected. The measurements also captured the analytical predictions for channel walls made of different materials (i.e., zeta potentials). This was tested in channels that had three PDMS and one quartz wall, resulting in a flow with an asymmetric velocity profile due to variations in the zeta potential between the walls.