A method for eliminating gas bubble blockage of current flow during operation of an electrokinetic pump. By making use of the ability to modify the surface charge on the porous dielectric medium used in electrokinetic pumps, it becomes possible to place electrodes away from the pressurized region of the electrokinetic pump. While gas is still generated at the electrodes they are situated such that the generated gas can escape into a larger buffer reservoir and not into the high pressure region of the pump where the gas bubbles can interrupt current flow. Various combinations of porous dielectric materials and ionic conductors can be used to create pumps that have desirable electrical, material handling, and flow attributes.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with Government support under contract no. DE - AC04- 94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation. The Government has certain rights in the invention.