Negative Knudsen force on heated microbeams

Taishan Zhu, Wenjing Ye, Jun Zhang

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28 Scopus citations

Abstract

Knudsen force acting on a heated microbeam adjacent to a cold substrate in a rarefied gas is a mechanical force created by unbalanced thermal gradients. The measured force has its direction pointing towards the side with a lower thermal gradient and its magnitude vanishes in both continuum and free-molecule limits. In our previous study, negative Knudsen forces were discovered at the high Knudsen regime before diminishing in the free-molecule limit. Such a phenomenon was, however, neither observed in experiment [A. Passian et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 124503 (2003)], nor captured in the latest numerical study [J. Nabeth et al., Phys. Rev. E 83, 066306 (2011)]. In this paper, the existence of such a negative Knudsen force is further confirmed using both numerical simulation and theoretical analysis. The asymptotic order of the Knudsen force near the collisionless limit is analyzed and the analytical expression of its leading term is provided, from which approaches for the enhancement of negative Knudsen forces are proposed. The discovered phenomenon could find its applications in novel mechanisms for pressure sensing and actuation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review E
Volume84
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 18 2011
Externally publishedYes

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