Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.553, 451-464, 2019
Impact of network heterogeneity on electrokinetic transport in porous media
We present a numerical study of electrokinetic transport in porous media, focusing on the role of heterogeneity in a porous microstructure on ion concentration polarization and over-limiting current. For simplicity, the porous medium is modeled as a network of long, thin charged cylindrical pores, each governed by one-dimensional effective transport equations. For weak surface conduction, when sufficiently large potential is applied, we demonstrate that electrokinetic transport in a porous network can be dominated by electro-convection via internally induced flow loops, which is not properly captured by existing homogenized models. We systematically vary the topology and "accessivity" of the pore network and compare with simulations of traditional homogenized parallel-pore (capillary-bundle) models, in order to reveal the effects of regular and hierarchical connectivity. Our computational framework sheds light on the complex physics of electrokinetic phenomena in microstructures and may be used to design porous media for applications, such as water desalination and purification by shock electrodialysis. (C) 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Electrokinetics;Porous media;Ion transport;Reduced order models;Deionization shock;Flow loops