Indexed on: 16 Feb '07Published on: 16 Feb '07Published in: ELECTROPHORESIS
In this study we performed numerical and experimental investigations into the mixing of EOFs in zigzag microchannels with two different corner geometries, namely sharp corners and flat corners. In the zigzag microchannel with sharp corners, the flow travels more rapidly near the inner wall of the corner than near the outer wall as a result of the higher electric potential drop. The resulting velocity gradient induces a racetrack effect, which enhances diffusion within the fluid and hence improves the mixing performance. The simulation results reveal that the mixing index is approximately 88.83%. However, the sharp-corner geometry causes residual liquid or bubbles to become trapped in the channel at the point where the flow is almost stationary, when the channel is in the process of cleaning. Accordingly, a zigzag microchannel with flat-corner geometry is developed. The flat-corner geometry forms a convergent-divergent type nozzle which not only enhances the mixing performance in the channel, but also prevents the accumulation of residual liquid or bubbles. Scaling analysis reveals that this corner geometry leads to an effective increase in the mixing length. The experimental results reveal that the mixing index is increased to 94.30% in the flat-corner zigzag channel. Hence, the results demonstrate that the mixing index of the flat-corner zigzag channel is better than that of the conventional sharp-corner microchannel. Finally, the results of Taguchi analysis indicate that the attainable mixing index is determined primarily by the number of corners in the microchannel and by the flow passing height at each corner.