Hybrid finite-difference/lattice Boltzmann simulations of microchannel and nanochannel acoustic streaming driven by surface acoustic waves

Ming K. Tan, Leslie Y. Yeo

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A two-dimensional hybrid numerical method that allows full coupling of the elastic motion in a piezoelectric solid (modeled using a finite-difference time-domain technique) with the resultant compressional flow in a fluid (simulated using a lattice Boltzmann scheme) is developed to study the acoustic streaming that arises in both microchannels and nanochannels under surface acoustic wave (SAW) excitation. In addition to verifying the model through a comparison of the simulations with results from experimental and numerical studies of microchannel and nanochannel flows driven by both standing and traveling SAWs in the literature, we highlight salient features of the flow field that arise and discuss the underlying mechanisms responsible for the flow. In microchannels, boundary layer streaming is the dominant mechanism when the channel height is below the sound wavelength in the liquid, whereas Eckart streaming - arising as a consequence of the attenuation of the sound wave in the liquid - dominates in the form of periodic vortices for larger channel heights. The absence of Eckart streaming and the overlapping of boundary layers in nanochannels with heights below the boundary layer thickness, on the other hand, give rise to a time-averaged dynamic acoustic pressure that results in an inertial-dominant flow, which paradoxically possesses a parabolic-like velocity profile resembling pressure-driven laminar flow. In contrast, if the nanochannel were to be filled instead with air, the significantly lower fluid density leads to a considerable reduction in the dynamic acoustic pressure and hence inertial forcing such that boundary layer streaming once again dominates, asymptotically imposing a slip condition along the channel surface that results in a negative pluglike velocity profile.

Original languageEnglish
Article number044202
Number of pages23
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018

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