Department of Physics Papers

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version



We recently have reported [J. Chem. Phys. 122, 164701 (2005)] a family of electroconvective patterns that arise when charge-stabilized colloidal dispersions are driven by constant (dc) vertical electric fields. Competition between gravity and electrokinetic forces acting on the individual spheres in this system leads to the formation of highly organized convective instabilities involving hundreds of spheres. Here, we report a distinct class of electroconvective patterns that emerge in confined aqueous dispersions at higher biases. These qualitatively resemble the honeycomb and labyrinthine patterns formed during thermally driven Rayleigh-Bénard convection, but arise from a distinct mechanism. Unlike the localized colloidal electroconvective patterns observed at lower biases, moreover, these system-spanning patterns form even without dispersed colloidal particles. Rather, they appear to result from an underlying electroconvective instability during electrolysis in the parallel plate geometry. This contrasts with recent theoretical results suggesting that simple electrolytes are linearly stable against electroconvection.


Suggested Citation:
Han, Y. and Grier, D.G. (2006). Colloidal electroconvection in a thin horizontal cell. II. Bulk electroconvection of water during parallel-plate electrolysis. The Journal of Chemical Physics 125, 144707.

© 2006 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics. The following article appeared in The Journal of Chemical Physics and may be found at

Included in

Physics Commons



Date Posted: 07 July 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.