The equilibrium shape of a bubble/droplet in an electric field is important for electrowetting over dielectrics (EWOD), electrohydrodynamic (EHD) enhancement for heat transfer and electro-deformation of a single biological cell among others. In this work, we develop a general variational formulation in account of electro-mechanical couplings. In the context of EHD, we identify the free energy functional and the associated energy minimization problem that determines the equilibrium shape of a bubble in an electric field. Based on this variational formulation, we implement a fixed mesh level-set gradient method for computing the equilibrium shapes. This numerical scheme is efficient and validated by comparing with analytical solutions at the absence of electric field and experimental results at the presence of electric field. We also present simulation results for zero gravity which will be useful for space applications. The variational formulation and numerical scheme are anticipated to have broad applications in areas of EWOD, EHD and electro-deformation in biomechanics.
- Received June 17, 2016.
- Accepted February 14, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.