Electroosmotic flow in a rectangular channel with variable wall zeta-potential: Comparison of numerical simulation with asymptotic theory

Subhra Datta*, Sandip Ghosal, Neelesh A. Patankar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Electroosmotic flow in a straight micro-channel of rectangular cross-section is computed numerically for several situations where the wall zeta-potential is not constant but has a specified spatial variation. The results of the computation are compared with an earlier published asymptotic theory based on the lubrication approximation: the assumption that any axial variations take place on a long length scale compared to a characteristic channel width. The computational results are found to be in excellent agreement with the theory even when the scale of axial variations is comparable to the channel width. In the opposite limit when the wavelength of fluctuations is much shorter than the channel width, the lubrication theory fails to describe the solution either qualitatively or quantitatively. In this short wave limit the solution is well described by Ajdari's theory for electroosmotic flow between infinite parallel plates (Ajdari, A., Phys. Rev. E 1996, 53, 4996-5005.) The infinitely thin electric double layer limit is assumed in the theory as well as in the simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-619
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2006



  • Electroosmosis
  • Lubrication theory
  • Microfluids
  • Zeta potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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