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Electric current induced flow of liquid metals: Mechanism and substrate-surface effects

Kumar, P and Howarth, J and Dutta, I (2014) Electric current induced flow of liquid metals: Mechanism and substrate-surface effects. In: JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS, 115 (4).

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4863641


Long range, continuous flow of liquid metals occurs upon application of an electric current. Here, we report experimental results elucidating the mechanism of current-induced liquid metal flow, and its dependence on substrate surface condition. It is shown that the observed flow is diffusion-controlled, with the flow-rate depending linearly on applied current density, indicating that it is driven by electromigration. The effective charge number for liquid electromigration, Z*, of several pure metals, such as Al, Bi, Ga, Sn, and Pb, were deduced from the experimental results and were found to be close to the elemental valency. With the exception of liquid Pb, Z* for all liquid metals tested in this study were positive, indicating that: (i) electron wind contributes much less to Z* in liquid metals than in solids, and (ii) with a few exceptions, liquid metals generally flow in the direction of the electric current. On smooth substrates which are wetted well by the liquid metal, flow occurs in a thin, continuous stream. On rough surfaces which are poorly wetted, on the other hand, discrete beads of liquid form, with mass transport between adjacent beads occurring by surface diffusion on the substrate. A rationale for the role of substrate roughness in fostering this observed transition in flow mechanism is presented. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.

Item Type: Journal Article
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to the AMER INST PHYSICS, CIRCULATION & FULFILLMENT DIV, 2 HUNTINGTON QUADRANGLE, STE 1 N O 1, MELVILLE, NY 11747-4501 USA
Department/Centre: Division of Chemical Sciences > Materials Research Centre
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2014 05:48
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2014 05:48
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/48755

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