On heat transfer at microscale with implications for microactuator design
The dominance of conduction and the negligible effect of gravity, and hence free convection, are verified in the case of microscale heat sources surrounded by air at atmospheric pressure. A list of temperature-dependent heat transfer coefficients is provided. In contrast to previous approaches based on free convection, supplied coefficients converge with increasing temperature. Instead of creating a new external function for the definition of boundary conditions via conductive heat transfer, convective thin film coefficients already embedded in commercial finite element software are utilized under a constant heat flux condition. This facilitates direct implementation of coefficients, i.e. the list supplied in this work can directly be plugged into commercial software. Finally, the following four-step methodology is proposed for modeling: (i) determination of the thermal time constant of a specific microactuator, (ii) determination of the boundary layer size corresponding to this time constant, (iii) extraction of the appropriate heat transfer coefficients from a list provided and (iv) application of these coefficients as boundary conditions in thermomechanical finite element simulations. An experimental procedure is established for the determination of the thermal time constant, the first step of the proposed methodology. Based on conduction, the proposed method provides a physically sound solution to heat transfer issues encountered in the modeling of thermal microactuators.