Tuesday, 22 April, 2008
Microscale fluid flow induced by thermoviscous expansion along a traveling wave
F.M. Weinert, J.A Kraus, T. Franosch, D. Braun - Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 164501 (2008)
The thermal expansion of a fluid combined with a temperature-dependent viscosity introduces nonlinearities in the Navier-Stokes equations unrelated to the convective momentum current. The couplings generate the possibility for net fluid flow at the microscale controlled by external heating. This novel thermomechanical effect is investigated for a thin fluid chamber by a numerical solution of the Navier-Stokes equations and analytically by a perturbation expansion. A demonstration experiment confirms the basic mechanism and quantitatively validates our theoretical analysis.