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NSF: Simulating the Dynamics of Electrowetting: Modeling, Numerics, and Validation

Faculty 

Ricardo Nochetto

Funding Agency 

National Science Foundation

Description 

Electrowetting is a technique for manipulating fluids on the micro-scale. By applying voltages at actuating electrodes, it is possible to (effectively) modify surface tension properties, and to move, split, merge, and mix liquid packets. Applications of electrowetting include re-programmable lab-on-a-chip systems, auto-focus cell phone lenses, and colored oil pixels for laptops and video-speed smart paper.

The PIs will develop experimentally validated models that will predict electrowetting dynamics first in two, then in three, spatial dimensions, which will enable next-generation system analysis, design, and control. The models will include the essential bulk-flow physics: surface tension, low-Reynolds fluid dynamics, electrostatics or electrodynamics, as well as critical loss-phenomena such as contact angle saturation and hysteresis.

Simulating the Dynamics of Electrowetting: Modeling, Numerics, and Validation is a four-year, $310K grant.