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Disjoining Pressure Effects in Ultra-Thin Liquid Films in Micropassages: Comparison of Thermodynamic Theory With Predictions of Molecular Dynamics Simulations

[+] Author Affiliations
V. P. Carey

University of California at Berkeley

A. P. Wemhoff

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Paper No. IMECE2005-80234, pp. 511-520; 10 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Heat Transfer, Part B
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Heat Transfer Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4222-3 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


The concept of disjoining pressure, developed from thermodynamic and hydrodynamic analysis, has been widely used as a means of modeling the liquid-solid molecular force interactions in an ultra-thin liquid film on a solid surface. In particular, this approach has been extensively used in models of thin film transport in passages in micro evaporators and micro heat pipes. In this investigation, hybrid μPT molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were used to predict the pressure field and film thermophysics for an argon film on a metal surface. The results of the simulations are compared with predictions of the classic thermodynamic disjoining pressure model. The thermodynamic model provides only a prediction of the relation between vapor pressure and film thickness for a specified temperature. The MD simulations provide a detailed prediction of the density and pressure variation in the liquid film, as well as a prediction of the variation of the equilibrium vapor pressure variation with temperature and film thickness. Comparisons indicate that the predicted variations of vapor pressure with thickness for these two models are in close agreement. A modified thermodynamic model is developed which suggests that presence of a wall-affected layer tends to enhance the reduction of the equilibrium vapor pressure. However, the MD simulation results imply that presence of a wall layer has little effect on the vapor pressure. Implications of the MD simulation predictions for thin film transport in micro evaporators and heat pipes are also discussed.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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