Modeling the Velocity Field of the Electroosmotic Flow in Charged Capillaries and in Capillary Columns Packed with Charged Particles: Interstitial and Intraparticle Velocities in Capillary Electrochromatography Systems


Mass transfer systems based on electrokinetic phenomena (i.e., capillary electrochromatography (CEC)) have shown practical potential in becoming powerful separation methods for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. A mathematical model has been constructed and solved to describe quantitatively the profiles of the electrostatic potential, pressure, and velocity of the electroosmotic flow (EOF) in charged cylindrical capillaries and in capillary columns packed with charged particles. The results obtained from model simulations (i) provide significant physical insight and understanding with regard to the velocity profile of the EOF in capillary columns packed with charged porous particles which represent systems employed in CEC, (ii) provide the physical explanation for the experimental results which indicate that the velocity of the EOF in capillary columns packed with charged porous particles is a very weak function (it is almost independent) of the diameter of the particles, and (iii) indicate that the intraparticle velocity, v(p,i), of the EOF can be greater than zero. The intraparticle Peclet number, Pe(int rap), for lysozyme was found to be greater than unity and this intraparticle convective mass transfer mechanism could contribute significantly, if the appropriate chemistry is employed in the mobile liquid phase and in the charged porous particles, in (a) decreasing the intraparticle mass transfer resistance, (b) decreasing the dispersive mass transfer effects, and (c) increasing the intraparticle mass transfer rates so that high column efficiency and resolution can be obtained. Furthermore, the results from model simulations indicate that for a given operationally permissible value of the applied electric potential difference per unit length, E(x), high values for the average velocity of the EOF can be obtained if (1) the zeta potential, ζ(p), at the surface of the particles packed in the column has a large negative magnitude, (2) the value of the viscosity, μ, of the mobile liquid phase is low, (3) the magnitude of the dielectric constant, ε, of the mobile liquid phase is reasonably large, and (4) the combination of the values of the concentration, C(∞), of the electrolyte and of the dielectric constant, ε, provide a thin double layer. The theoretical results for the velocity of the EOF obtained from the solution of the model presented in this work were compared with the experimental values of the velocity of the EOF obtained from a fused-silica column packed with charged porous silica C₈ particles. Systems with four different particle diameters and three different concentrations of the electrolyte were considered, and the magnitude of the electric field was varied widely. The agreement between theory and experiment was found to be good.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


University of Missouri--Rolla. Biochemical Processing Institute

Keywords and Phrases

Capillary Columns; Charged Porous Particles; Electrochromatography; Electroosmotic Flow; Intraparticle Convective Flow; Intraparticle Electroosmotic Flow; Intraparticle Peclet Number

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Article - Journal

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© 2000 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2000