Electroviscous effects on the squeezing flow of thin electrolyte solution films

Cunlu Zhao*, Wenyao Zhang, Dirk van den Ende, Frieder Mugele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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We present a detailed analysis of the electroviscous effect in the squeeze out of thin electrolyte films confined between two charged surfaces. The two charged surfaces consist of a curved surface and a flat surface, which closely simulate the tip-substrate configuration in the force measurement of electrolyte solutions with dynamic atomic force microscopy. In the lubrication limit, we find the analytical solution of the electroviscous-effect-modified squeezing flow field in the thin electrolyte film confined between the tip and substrate by solving the Nernst-Planck-Poisson/Navier-Stokes equation under the justified condition of pseudo-steadiness. We also derive the solution of the tip-substrate interaction, which comprises of a conservative electric double layer (EDL) force and an electroviscous-effect-enhanced dissipative hydrodynamic force. The current work focuses on the dissipative hydrodynamic force since the conservative EDL force has been well described by the well-known Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek theory. We introduce a power-law index for the tip surface, which enables an unprecedented quantitative characterization of the tip profile effect on the electroviscous effect. We observe a seemingly counter-intuitive effect that, for a given tip-substrate separation, the electroviscous effect is the strongest at one particular value of the zeta potential and diminishes as the potential departs from this value. We reveal the counterion conductivity of the EDL to be the governing factor for the electroviscous effect under a given potential. In addition to enhancing the dissipative hydrodynamic interaction force, the electroviscous effect modifies the velocity profiles in the thin electrolyte solution films such that they are much sharper.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA29
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Early online date11 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2020


  • electrohydrodynamic effects
  • microfluidics
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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