Immersed electrokinetic finite element method

Yaling Liu, Wing Kam Liu*, Ted Belytschko, Neelesh Patankar, Albert C. To, Adrian Kopacz, Jae Hyun Chung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


A new method is proposed for modelling the electrokinetic-induced mechanical motion of particles in a fluid domain under an applied electric field. In this method, independent solid meshes move in a fixed background field mesh that models the fluid and the electric field. This simple strategy removes the need for expensive mesh updates. Furthermore, the reproducing kernel particle functions enable efficient coupling of various immersed deformable solids with the surrounding viscous fluid in the presence of an applied electric field. The electric force on a particle is calculated by the Maxwell stress tensor method. For the first time, three-dimensional assembly of nano/biomaterials of various geometries and electrical properties have been comprehensively studied using the new method. Simulation of the dynamic process of electro-manipulation of individual and multiple cells agrees well with experimental data. Preliminary results for selective deposition of viruses and stretching of a DNA molecule are also presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-405
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 23 2007


  • Biomolecules
  • Dielectrophoretic assembly
  • Electrokinetics
  • Euler-Lagrange mapping
  • Immersed finite element method
  • Nanowires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Engineering(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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