Using viscous heating to determine the friction factor in microchannels - An experimental validation

G.P. Celata, G.L. Morini, V. Marconi, S.J. McPhail, G. Zummo

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Many experimental works on forced convection through microchannels have evidenced deviations from conventional theory in fluid-dynamic and diabatic behaviour. Whereas often these anomalies were ascribed to "new" micro-effects, it can usually be shown that the explanations for different behaviour at microscale are hidden in the conventional theory. There is just the issue of scaling effects that cause certain phenomena that are negligible at macroscale to become influential when channel geometry is reduced below a certain limit. Such an effect also pertains to viscous dissipation, which becomes important especially in liquid microchannel flows. This paper focuses on the role of viscous heating in such flows, explaining its occurrence in the Navier-Stokes equations and verifying its presence in experimental validation. A criterion will be presented to draw the limit of significance for viscous dissipation effects in microchannel flows. The connection between viscous heating and the friction factor will be demonstrated, which will then provide the basis for comparison in an experimental context. The friction factor obtained through pressure measurements and through evaluation of the viscous heating are confronted. The results show an exceedingly good description of fluid-dynamic behaviour by the viscous heating method for diameters below 100 μm, proving the validity of the principle of scaling effects. This implies that at extremely small diameters temperature measurements suffice to describe head loss, and that in diabatic experiments the viscous heating should be accounted for. © 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725 - 731
Number of pages7
JournalExperimental Thermal and Fluid Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Mechanical Engineering

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