• A mean free path approach to the micro/nanochannel gas flows

      Xie, Jianfei; University of Derby (Springer Nature, 2020-05-07)
      We investigate the gas flows near to solid surfaces in terms of the local spatial variation in the molecular mean free path (MFP). Molecular dynamics (MD) is the appropriate scientific tool for obtaining molecularly-accurate dynamic information in micro and nano-scale gas flows, and has been used to evaluate the molecular mean free path of gases. In the calibration procedure, the viscosity of a gas in the homogeneous case can be recovered in our MD simulations and reach good agreement with the theoretical prediction and data from NIST. In surface-bounded gas flows, if the collisions between gas molecules and walls are counted, a spatially-varying mean free path is presented, and for the first time we have observed that the distribution of the free paths deviates from the exponential one and spikes appear in their distributions at larger Kn, i.e. in the transition flow regime. Based on elementary kinetic theory, the effective viscosity of the gas derived from the mean free path has been incorporated into the framework of the continuum-fluid dynamics equations, and micro-Couette flows are performed to demonstrate this potential application.