Dielectrophoresis (DEP) has become one of the most popular mechanisms for label free particle manipulations and transport in microfluidics. The efficacy of this mechanism is greatly dependent on the understanding and control of DEP interactive motion among particles. In this study, we performed a systematic investigation to understand the effect of particles size and electrical properties on DC DEP interactions among particles using in-house hybrid immersed boundary – immersed interface numerical method. Immersed boundary method is employed to predict flow field and immersed interface method is used to simulate electric field. The numerical model utilizes Maxwell’s stress tensor to obtain DEP forces, while solving transient Navier-Stokes equation it determines the hydrodynamic interaction between each of the particles and the fluid containing them. By varying the number of particles as well as the particles’ size, electrical properties and initial orientations, a number of possibilities were considered. Results indicate that the particles with similar electrical conductivities attract each other and tend to align themselves parallel to the external electric field regardless of sizes. If electrical conductivity of particles is lower than that of the fluid medium then the particle-particle interactions is caused by the negative DEP. If electrical conductivity of particles is higher than that of the fluid medium then the interactive motions of particle is attributed to the positive DEP. On the other hand, electrically dissimilar particles still attract each other but tend to align perpendicular to the electric field. Both negative and positive DEP contributes in interactions between electrically dissimilar particles. Numerical simulation also shows that the identical sized particles move at the same speed during interaction. In contrast, smaller particles moves faster than the larger particle during the interactions. This study explains the effect of size and electrical properties on DEP interactive motions of particles and can be utilized to design microfluidic devices for DEP particle manipulations.

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