Understanding electroosmotic flow in microchannels is of both fundamental and practical significance for the design and optimization of various microfluidic devices to control fluid motion. Electroosmotic flows in microfluidic systems are restricted to the low Reynolds number regime, and mixing in these systems becomes problematic due to negligible inertial effects. To enhance the species mixing effect, the current study presents a numerical investigation of steady-state electroosmotic flow mixing in smooth microchannels, channels patterned with surface blocks, channels patterned with heterogeneous surfaces, as well as pulsating electroosmotic flow. The lattice Boltzmann equations, which recover the nonlinear Poisson-Boltzmann equation, the Navier-Stokes equation including the external force term, and the diffusion equation, were solved to obtain the electric potential distribution in the electrolyte, the velocity field, and the species concentration distribution, respectively. The simulation results confirm that wall blocks, heterogeneous surfaces, and electroosmotic pulsating flow can all change the flow pattern and enhance mixing in microfluidic systems. In addition, it is shown that pulsating flow provides the most promising method for enhancing the mixing efficiency.

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