Increasing Heat Transfer in Microchannels with Surface Acoustic Waves

S. Berry[1]
[1]Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, MA, USA

In this numerical study, surface acoustic waves (SAWs) are evaluated as a potential disruptive flow technology for enhancing heat transfer in microchannels. Using COMSOL Multiphysics® software, the physics governing acoustics, single-phase-fluid flow and heat transfer are coupled. The results show that acoustic streaming can disrupt the bulk fluid flow, creating rotating vortices within the microchannel and enhancing heat transfer. Under the right flow conditions, the resulting circulating flow disrupts the thermal boundary layer, increasing heat flux across the microchannel. As the flow rate increases in the microchannel, advection dominates the flow, overwhelming the ability for vortices to be generated by acoustic streaming.