The streaming potential is generated by the electrokinetic flow effect within the electrical double layer of a charged solid surface. Surface charge properties are commonly quantified in terms of the zeta potential obtained by computation with the Helmholtz-Smoluchowski (H-S) equation following experimental measurement of streaming potential. In order to estimate a rigorous zeta potential for cone-shaped microchannel, the correct H-S equation is derived by applying the Debye-Hückel approximation and the fluid velocity of diverging flow on the specified position. The present computation provides a correction ratio relative to the H-S equation for straight cylindrical channel and enables us to interpret the effects of the channel geometry and the electrostatic interaction. The correction ratio decreases with increasing of diverging angle, which implies that smaller zeta potential is generated for larger diverging angle. The increase of Debye length also reduces the correction ratio due to the overlapping of the Debye length inside of the channel. It is evident that as the diverging angle of the channel goes to nearly zero, the correction ratio converges to the previous results for straight cylindrical channel. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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