Electrowetting dynamics of microfluidic actuation.

Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

PubMedID: 15835997

Wang KL, Jones TB. Electrowetting dynamics of microfluidic actuation. Langmuir. 2005;21(9):4211-7.
When voltage is suddenly applied to vertical, parallel dielectric-coated electrodes dipped into a liquid with finite conductivity, the liquid responds by rising up to reach a new hydrostatic equilibrium height. On the microfluidic scale, the dominating mechanism impeding this electromechanically induced actuation appears to be a dynamic friction force that is directly proportional to the velocity of the contact line moving along the solid surface. This mechanism has its origin in the molecular dynamics of the liquid coming into contact with the solid surface. A simple reduced-order model for the rising column of liquid is used to quantify the magnitude of this frictional effect by providing estimates for the contact line friction coefficient. Above some critical threshold of voltage, the electromechanical force is clamped, presumably by the same mechanism responsible for contact angle saturation and previously reported static height-of-rise limits. The important distinction for the dynamic case is that the onset of the saturation effect is delayed in time until the column has risen more than about halfway to its static equilibrium height.