Instabilities driven by diffusiophoretic flow on catalytic surfaces

Yibo Chen, Kai Leong Chong*, Luoqin Liu, Roberto Verzicco, Detlef Lohse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


We theoretically and numerically investigate the instabilities driven by diffusiophoretic flow, caused by a solutal concentration gradient along a reacting surface. The important control parameters are the Péclet number, which quantifies the ratio of the solutal advection rate to the diffusion rate, and the Schmidt number, which is the ratio of viscosity and diffusivity. First, we study the diffusiophoretic flow on a catalytic plane in two dimensions. From a linear stability analysis, we obtain that for larger than mass transport by convection overtakes that by diffusion, and a symmetry-breaking mode arises, which is consistent with numerical results. For even larger, nonlinear terms become important. For 16{\rm \pi}$]]>, multiple concentration plumes are emitted from the catalytic plane, which eventually merge into a single larger one. When is even larger (for Schmidt number), there are continuous emissions and merging events of the concentration plumes. The newly found flow states have different flow structures for different: for, we observe the chaotic emission of plumes, but the fluctuations of concentration are only present in the region near the catalytic plane. In contrast, for <![CDATA[$Sc, chaotic flow motion occurs also in the bulk. In the second part of the paper, we conduct three-dimensional simulations for spherical catalytic particles, and beyond a critical Péclet number again find continuous plume emission and plume merging, now leading to a chaotic motion of the phoretic particle. Our results thus help us to understand the experimentally observed chaotic motion of catalytic particles in the high regime.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA10
JournalJournal of fluid mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2021


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • propulsion
  • active matter


Dive into the research topics of 'Instabilities driven by diffusiophoretic flow on catalytic surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this