Lattice Boltzmann method for flow and heat transfer in microgeometries

Seckin Gokaltun, Florida International University


Recent technological developments have made it possible to design various microdevices where fluid flow and heat transfer are involved. For the proper design of such systems, the governing physics needs to be investigated. Due to the difficulty to study complex geometries in micro scales using experimental techniques, computational tools are developed to analyze and simulate flow and heat transfer in microgeometries. However, conventional numerical methods using the Navier-Stokes equations fail to predict some aspects of microflows such as nonlinear pressure distribution, increase mass flow rate, slip flow and temperature jump at the solid boundaries. This necessitates the development of new computational methods which depend on the kinetic theory that are both accurate and computationally efficient. In this study, lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) was used to investigate the flow and heat transfer in micro sized geometries. The LBM depends on the Boltzmann equation which is valid in the whole rarefaction regime that can be observed in micro flows. Results were obtained for isothermal channel flows at Knudsen numbers higher than 0.01 at different pressure ratios. LBM solutions for micro-Couette and micro-Poiseuille flow were found to be in good agreement with the analytical solutions valid in the slip flow regime (0.01 < Kn < 0.1) and direct simulation Monte Carlo solutions that are valid in the transition regime (0.1 < Kn < 10) for pressure distribution and velocity field. The isothermal LBM was further extended to simulate flows including heat transfer. The method was first validated for continuum channel flows with and without constrictions by comparing the thermal LBM results against accurate solutions obtained from analytical equations and finite element method. Finally, the capability of thermal LBM was improved by adding the effect of rarefaction and the method was used to analyze the behavior of gas flow in microchannels. The major finding of this research is that, the newly developed particle-based method described here can be used as an alternative numerical tool in order to study non-continuum effects observed in micro-electro-mechanical-systems (MEMS).

Subject Area

Mechanical engineering

Recommended Citation

Gokaltun, Seckin, "Lattice Boltzmann method for flow and heat transfer in microgeometries" (2008). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3348912.