Heat Conduction in Nanostructured Materials Predicted by Phonon Bulk Mean Free Path Distribution

TitleHeat Conduction in Nanostructured Materials Predicted by Phonon Bulk Mean Free Path Distribution
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRomano, G, Grossman, JC
JournalJournal of Heat Transfer-Transactions of the Asme
Volume137
Issue7
Pagination071302
Date Published2015/07//
Abstract

We develop a computational framework, based on the Boltzmann transport equation (BTE), with the ability to compute thermal transport in nanostructured materials of any geometry using, as the only input, the bulk cumulative thermal conductivity. The main advantage of our method is twofold. First, while the scattering times and dispersion curves are unknown for most materials, the phonon mean free path (MFP) distribution can be directly obtained by experiments. As a consequence, a wider range of materials can be simulated than with the frequency-dependent (FD) approach. Second, when the MFP distribution is available from theoretical models, our approach allows one to include easily the material dispersion in the calculations without discretizing the phonon frequencies for all polarizations thereby reducing considerably computational effort. Furthermore, after deriving the ballistic and diffusive limits of our model, we develop a multiscale method that couples phonon transport across different scales, enabling efficient simulations of materials with wide phonon MFP distributions length. After validating our model against the FD approach, we apply the method to porous silicon membranes and find good agreement with experiments on mesoscale pores. By enabling the investigation of thermal transport in unexplored nanostructured materials, our method has the potential to advance high-efficiency thermoelectric devices.