Assembly of colloidal aggregates by electrohydrodynamic flow: Kinetic experiments and scaling analysis
Electric fields generate transverse flows near electrodes that sweep colloidal particles into densely packed assemblies. We interpret this behavior in terms of electrohydrodynamic motion stemming from distortions of the field by the particles that alter the body force distribution in the electrode charge polarization layer. A scaling analysis shows how the action of the applied electric field generates fluid motion that carries particles toward one another. The resulting fluid velocity is proportional to the square of the applied field and decreases inversely with frequency. Experimental measurements of the particle aggregation rate accord with the electrohydrodynamic theory over a wide range of voltages and frequencies.