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Keywords:

  • porous media;
  • mass transfer;
  • Sherwood number;
  • permeation;
  • Debye length

Abstract

An expression for Sherwood number is developed from first principles for combined pressure-driven and electroosmotic flow in a porous rectangular microchannel. This quantifies the mass transfer of an electrically neutral solute in the microchannel and is useful for designing microfluidic devices and porous media flows. The convective-diffusive species balance equation, coupled with the velocity field, is solved within the mass transfer boundary layer utilizing similarity method. From the simulations, it is observed that the Sherwood number increases as the electric double layer near the channel wall becomes more compact (as manifested through a decrease in the Debye length), and it reaches a constant value around the scaled Debye length of 40. The Sherwood number becomes constant at higher Debye lengths as electrokinetic effects become negligible. A detailed analysis of dependence of Reynolds number, dimensionless permeation velocity, ratio of driving force and scaled Debye length on Sherwood number is presented. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 58: 1693–1703, 2012