Numerical study of nonequilibrium gas flow in a microchannel with a ratchet surface

Zhu, Lianhua and Guo, Zhaoli (2017) Numerical study of nonequilibrium gas flow in a microchannel with a ratchet surface. Physical Review E, 95 (2). 023113. ISSN 2470-0053 (

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The nonequilibrium gas flow in a two-dimensional microchannel with a ratchet surface and a moving wall is investigated numerically with a kinetic method [Guo, Phys. Rev. E 91, 033313 (2015)]PLEEE81539-375510.1103/PhysRevE.91.033313. The presence of periodic asymmetrical ratchet structures on the bottom wall of the channel and the temperature difference between the walls of the channel result in a thermally induced flow, and hence a tangential propelling force on the wall. Such thermally induced propelling mechanism can be utilized as a model heat engine. In this article, the relations between the propelling force and the top wall moving velocity are obtained by solving the Boltzmann equation with the Shakhov model deterministically in a wide range of Knudsen numbers. The flow fields at both the static wall state and the critical state at which the thermally induced force cancels the drag force due to the active motion of the top wall are analyzed. A counterintuitive relation between the flow direction and the shear force is observed in the highly rarefied condition. The output power and thermal efficiency of the system working as a model heat engine are analyzed based on the momentum and energy transfer between the walls. The effects of Knudsen number, temperature difference, and geometric configurations are investigated. Guidance for improving the mechanical performance is discussed.