Low Mach number fluctuating hydrodynamics for electrolytes

Jean Philippe Péraud, Andy Nonaka, Anuj Chaudhri, John B. Bell, Aleksandar Donev, Alejandro L. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We formulate and study computationally the low Mach number fluctuating hydrodynamic equations for electrolyte solutions. We are interested in studying transport in mixtures of charged species at the mesoscale, down to scales below the Debye length, where thermal fluctuations have a significant impact on the dynamics. Continuing our previous work on fluctuating hydrodynamics of multicomponent mixtures of incompressible isothermal miscible liquids [A. Donev, Phys. Fluids 27, 037103 (2015)PHFLE61070-663110.1063/1.4913571], we now include the effect of charged species using a quasielectrostatic approximation. Localized charges create an electric field, which in turn provides additional forcing in the mass and momentum equations. Our low Mach number formulation eliminates sound waves from the fully compressible formulation and leads to a more computationally efficient quasi-incompressible formulation. We demonstrate our ability to model saltwater (NaCl) solutions in both equilibrium and nonequilibrium settings. We show that our algorithm is second order in the deterministic setting and for length scales much greater than the Debye length gives results consistent with an electroneutral approximation. In the stochastic setting, our model captures the predicted dynamics of equilibrium and nonequilibrium fluctuations. We also identify and model an instability that appears when diffusive mixing occurs in the presence of an applied electric field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number074103
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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