We show that the Knudsen thermal force generated by a thermally-induced flow over a heated beam near a colder wall could be amplified significantly by thermoelectric heating. Bidirectional actuation is achieved by switching the polarity of the thermoelectric device bias voltage. The measurements of the resulting thermal forces at different rarefaction regimes, realized by changing geometry and gas pressure, are done using torsional microbalance. The repulsive or attractive forces between a thermoelectrically heated or cooled plate and a substrate are shown to be up to an order of magnitude larger than for previously studied configurations and heating methods due to favorable coupling of two thermal gradients. The amplification and reversal of the Knudsen force is confirmed by numerical solution of the Boltzmann-ESBGK kinetic modelequation. Because of the favorable scaling with decreasing system size, the Knudsen force with thermoelectric heating offers a novel actuation and sensing mechanism for nano/microsystems.
Date of this Version
O'Neill, William J.; Wada, Mizuki; Strongrich, Andrew D.; Cofer, Anthony; and Alexeenko, Alina A., "Amplification and reversal of Knudsen force by thermoelectric heating" (2014). School of Aeronautics and Astronautics Faculty Publications. Paper 41.