Direct observation of a nonequilibrium electro-osmotic instability Academic Article uri icon


  • We present a visualization of the predicted instability in ionic conduction from a binary electrolyte into a charge selective solid. This instability develops when a voltage greater than critical is applied to a thin layer of copper sulfate flanked by a copper anode and a cation selective membrane. The current-voltage dependence exhibits a saturation at the limiting current. With a further increase of voltage, the current increases, marking the transition to the overlimiting conductance. This transition is mediated by the appearing vortical flow that increases with the applied voltage.

publication date

  • December 2, 2008