Induced charge electro osmotic mixer: Obstacle shape optimization

Mranal Jain*, Anthony Yeung, K. Nandakumar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Efficient mixing is difficult to achieve in miniaturized devices due to the nature of low Reynolds number flow. Mixing can be intentionally induced, however, if conducting or nonconducting obstacles are embedded within the microchannel. In the case of conducting obstacles, vortices can be generated in the vicinity of the obstacle due to induced charge electro-osmosis (ICEO) which enhances mixing of different streams: the obstacle shape affects the induced zeta potential on the conducting surface, which in turn influences the flow profile near the obstacle. This study deals with optimization of the geometric shape of a conducting obstacle for the purpose of micromixing. The obstacle boundary is parametrically represented by nonuniform rational B-spline curves. The optimal obstacle shape, which maximizes the mixing for given operating conditions, is found using genetic algorithms. Various case studies at different operating conditions demonstrated that the near right triangle shape provides optimal mixing in the ICEO flow dominant regime, whereas rectangular shape is the optimal shape in diffusion dominant regime. The tradeoff between mixing and transport is examined for symmetric and nonsymmetric obstacle shapes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022413
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


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