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Title: Elastic instabilities in the electroosmotic flow of non‐Newtonian fluids through T‐shaped microchannels

Electroosmotic flow (EOF) has been widely used to transport fluids and samples in micro‐ and nanofluidic channels for lab‐on‐a‐chip applications. This essentially surface‐driven plug‐like flow is, however, sensitive to both the fluid and wall properties, of which any inhomogeneity may draw disturbances to the flow and even instabilities. Existing studies on EOF instabilities have been focused primarily upon Newtonian fluids though many of the chemical and biological solutions are actually non‐Newtonian. We carry out a systematic experimental investigation of the fluid rheological effects on the elastic instability in the EOF of phosphate buffer‐based polymer solutions through T‐shaped microchannels. We find that electro‐elastic instabilities can be induced in shear thinning polyacrylamide (PAA) and xanthan gum (XG) solutions if the applied direct current voltage is above a threshold value. However, no instabilities are observed in Newtonian or weakly shear thinning viscoelastic fluids including polyethylene oxide (PEO), polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP), and hyaluronic acid (HA) solutions. We also perform a quantitative analysis of the wave parameters for the observed elasto‐elastic instabilities.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 588-597
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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