Numerical Simulation Of Electrokinetic Flow In Microfluidic Chips.

Fabio A. Guarnieri, Pablo A. Kler, Claudio L. A. Berli


Microfluidic chips are miniaturized analytical devices used in chemical, biological and
medical applications. In most cases, fluids are conducted through microchannels by applying electric
potentials and/or pressure gradients. This growing lab-on-a-chip technology requires numerical
simulations to assist the design, control and optimization of analytical manipulations. The present
work deals with FEM-based calculations of the dynamics of electrolyte solutions in cross-shaped
microchannels, where the flow is driven by the action of external electric fields. A theoretical
modeling of electrokinetic and transport phenomena in the system is carried out in the framework of
continuum fluid mechanics. Calculations ground on conservation equations of mass, momentum and
electrical charge, considering effects in three dimensions. Operations normally performed in analytical
systems are discussed, such as loading, focusing, and injection of samples. Numerical simulations
carried out in this work can be a valuable tool to control and optimize practical manipulations in
microfluidic chips.

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