Departmental Papers (MEAM)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

August 2005


Postprint version. Published in Applied Mathematical Modelling, Volume 29, Issue 8, August 2005, pages 726-753.
Publisher URL:


Two dimensional, time-independent and time-dependent electro-osmotic flows driven by a uniform electric field in a closed rectangular cavity with uniform and nonuniform zeta potential distributions along the cavity’s walls are investigated theoretically. First, we derive an expression for the one-dimensional velocity and pressure profiles for a flow in a slender cavity with uniform (albeit possibly different) zeta potentials at its top and bottom walls. Subsequently, using the method of superposition, we compute the flow in a finite length cavity whose upper and lower walls are subjected to non-uniform zeta potentials. Although the solutions are in the form of infinite series, with appropriate modifications, the series converge rapidly, allowing one to compute the flow fields accurately while maintaining only a few terms in the series. Finally, we demonstrate that by time-wise periodic modulation of the zeta potential, one can induce chaotic advection in the cavity. Such chaotic flows can be used to stir and mix fluids. Since devices operating on this principle do not require any moving parts, they may be particularly suitable for microfluidic devices.


Electrosmosis, chaos, stirring, microfluidics, mixing, stokes flow, accelerated convergence, Meleshko



Date Posted: 17 January 2006

This document has been peer reviewed.