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Research Papers: Micro/Nanoscale Heat Transfer

Computational Study of Thermal Rectification From Nanostructured Interfaces

[+] Author and Article Information
N. A. Roberts

D. G. Walker

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37325greg.walker@vanderbilt.edu

J. Heat Transfer 133(9), 092401 (Jul 07, 2011) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4003960 History: Received August 03, 2009; Revised April 01, 2011; Published July 07, 2011; Online July 07, 2011

Thermal rectification is a phenomenon in which transport is preferred in one direction over the opposite. Although observations of thermal rectification have been elusive, it could be useful in many applications such as thermal management of electronics and improvement of thermoelectric devices. The current work explores the possibility of thermally rectifying devices with the use of nanostructured interfaces. Interfaces can theoretically result in thermally rectifying behavior because of the difference in phonon frequency content between two dissimilar materials. The current work shows an effective rectification of greater than 25% in a device composed of two different materials divided equally by a single planar interface.

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Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of the interfaces studied via molecular dynamics simulations (from left to right: perfect interface, coarse diffuse interface, fine diffuse interface, single unit cell step interface, hemispherical interface, and ellipsoidal interface)

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Figure 2

Verification of solid argon thermal conductivity from molecular dynamics simulations at an average temperature of 50K

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Figure 3

Temperature distribution in argon system with a length of approximately 7nm

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Figure 4

Level of rectification of the perfect interface as a function of device length with a fixed temperature difference of 20K with an average temperature of 50K from the LAMMPS package

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Figure 5

Amount of rectification in a bulk system as a function of temperature based on fits of experimental measurements of temperature dependent conductivity of argon and krypton

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Figure 6

Effective rectification of the perfect interface as a function of device length with a fixed temperature difference of 10 K with an average temperature of 10 K from the LAMMPS package

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Figure 7

Level of rectification as a function of device temperature of a system oriented with argon on the left and krypton on the right (ArKr) a system oriented the opposite way (KrAr)

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Figure 8

Level of rectification as a function of device length for perfect and imperfect interfaces from the XMD package

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Figure 9

Level of rectification as a function of device length for asymmetric interfaces from the XMD package

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Figure 10

Level of rectification as a function of temperature for rough interfaces from the LAMMPS package

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