Mixing of liquids in micro mixers at low Reynolds numbers is a challenging task since the flow regime is laminar and it is difficult to engage instabilities of the flow. In many microfluidic systems, mixing can be improved by means of electrokinetic effects. A favorable micro mixer design consists of a Y-junction, where the different liquid streams merge, and a subsequent meandering microchannel. A pressure gradient pumps the liquids to be mixed through the microchannel. An oscillating electrical field is superimposed onto the pressure-driven base flow which generates an additional electrokinetic (electro osmotic) flow. These oscillating secondary flows in conjunction with the meandering geometry are responsible for stretching and folding of the contact area of the liquids to be mixed which enhances the mass transfer rates considerably. In this contribution, we present a mathematical model which allows for the numerical simulation of flow, electrical potential, and species concentration. The model is validated by experiments relying on Micro Particle Image Velocimetry (μPIV). Consequently, this model can be used to numerically optimize the electrical field in order to achieve fast and high mixing even at low Reynolds numbers.
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An Electrokinetic Micro Mixer for Lab-on-Chip Applications: Modeling, Validation, and Optimization
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Bockelmann, H, Heuveline, V, Ehrhard, P, & Barz, DPJ. "An Electrokinetic Micro Mixer for Lab-on-Chip Applications: Modeling, Validation, and Optimization." Proceedings of the ASME 2011 9th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels. ASME 2011 9th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels, Volume 2. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. June 19–22, 2011. pp. 473-480. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICNMM2011-58278
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