A numerical technique to simulate display pixels based on electrowetting

Ivo Roghair, Michiel Musterd, Dirk van den Ende, Chris Kleijn, Michiel Kreutzer, Frieder Mugele

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58 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


We present a numerical simulation technique to calculate the deformation of interfaces between a conductive and non-conductive fluid as well as the motion of liquid–liquid–solid three-phase contact lines under the influence of externally applied electric fields in electrowetting configuration. The technique is based on the volume of fluid method as implemented in the OpenFOAM framework, using a phase fraction parameter to track the different phases. We solve the combined electrohydrodynamic problem by coupling the equations for electric effects—Gauss’s law and a charge transport equation—to the Navier–Stokes equations of fluid flow. Specifically, we use a multi-domain approach to solving for the electric field in the solid and liquid dielectric parts of the system. A Cox–Voinov boundary condition is introduced to describe the dynamic contact angle of moving contact lines. We present several benchmark problems with analytical solutions to validate the simulation model. Subsequently, the model is used to study the dynamics of an electrowetting-based display pixel. We demonstrate good qualitative agreement between simulation results of the opening and closing of a pixel with experimental tests of the identical reference geometry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-482
JournalMicrofluidics and nanofluidics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2015


  • Electrowetting
  • OpenFOAM®
  • Pixel
  • Cox-Voinov
  • Contact line


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