Abstract

Thermal creep effects on fluid flow and heat transfer in a microchannel gas flow at low velocities are studied numerically. The continuity and Navier–Stokes equations in vorticity–stream function form, coupled with the energy equation, are solved, considering the thermal creep effect due to the longitudinal temperature gradient along the channel wall in addition to the combined effects of viscous dissipation, pressure work, axial conduction, shear work, and nonequilibrium conditions at the gas–wall interface. The governing equations are also solved without thermal creep, and comparisons between the two solutions are presented to evaluate the thermal creep effect on the flow field in the slip flow regime at relatively low Reynolds numbers. The results presented show that the thermal creep effect on both velocity and temperature fields become more significant as the Reynolds number decreases. Thermal creep effect on the velocity field also extends a longer distance downstream the channel as the Reynolds number decreases, hence increasing the hydrodynamics entrance length. Thermal creep can cause high positive velocity gradients at the upper channel wall for gas heating and hence reverse the flow rotation in the fluid layers adjacent to the wall. Thermal creep also results in a higher gas temperature in the developing region and higher heat exchange between the fluid and the channel wall in the entrance region. Thermal creep effect on heat exchange between the gas and the channel wall becomes more significant as the Knudsen number decreases.

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