Electromechanics of dielectric particles in dielectric liquids acted on by a microelectrode array
Arrays of microelectrodes were used to apply forces to dielectric (soda lime glass) spheres in a thin (200 micrometer thick) layer of a dielectric liquid polymer (EOPN 8021). The microelectrodes were fabricated using standard photolithographic methods of evaporating and electroplating gold onto a glass substrate. The objective is to use the electric body forces in the sphere and the electric surface tractions on the sphere to position the spheres in a microscale pattern, in this case a square array in-plane. Three sizes of spheres were used: 30, 90, and 170 microns in diameter. The 30 micron spheres formed clusters associated with the regions of highest electric energy density, whereas single 90 micron spheres were located at the regions of highest electric energy density. The 170 micron spheres generally did not form patterns. The experiments indicated that free charges, either in the volume of the sphere and/or on the sphere surface, significantly influence the motion of the sphere. A finite element analysis was performed to study the electro-fluid mechanics. The liquid velocity and streamlines were plotted, and the force resultants due to the liquid acting on the sphere were calculated. Also, the electric body force and surface tractions resultants were calculated. In general, the forces on the sphere and the liquid velocity are in agreement with the experimental results.