Thermal Energy Transport in Nanostructured Materials

August 25, 2008 - 12:00pm
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World energy demand is expected to reach ~30 TW by 2050 from the current demand of ~13 TW. This requires substantial technological innovation. Thermal energy transport and conversion play a very significant role in more than 90% of energy technologies. All four modes of thermal energy transport, conduction, convection, radiation, and phase change (e.g. evaporation/boiling) are important in various energy technologies such as vapor compression power plants, refrigeration, internal combustion engines and building heating/cooling. Similarly thermal transport play a critical role in electronics cooling as the performance and reliability of microelectronic devices is a strong function of temperature. Some of the issues such as enhanced thermal conduction for efficient heat transport, reduced thermal conduction for thermoelectric conversion and enhancement in evaporative/boiling thermal transport are common between the energy industry and the microelectronic industry. The fundamental length scales related to flow of heat in solids, colloids and molecules in liquids fall in the range of 1-1000 nm depending on the energy carrier type such as photons, phonons and electrons. Nanostructured materials and features of these dimensions can be used to manipulate various modes of thermal energy transport as mentioned above. The focus of this seminar will be on the speaker’s research and technology development work in the manipulation of thermal energy transport using nanostructured materials. Findings on control of radiation, conduction, convection and evaporation using nanostructured materials such as nanocomposites, carbon nanotubes, nanowires, and nanoscale colloidal solutions (nanofluids) will be presented. These fundamental and applied research topics have the potential to impact various energy technologies. For example nanostructured thermoelectric materials can be used for waste heat recovery, nanowires can be used to enhance the critical heat flux in boiling, and nanofluids can be potentially used for enhanced mass transport in absorption refrigerators and enhanced combustion properties of fossil fuels. For more information about this seminar, please contact: JoAnne Lambert 510.486.4835, or send e-mail to

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