Nanostructured jumping-droplet thermal rectifier

Ji Xiang Wang, Patrick Birbarah, Donald Docimo, Tianyu Yang, Andrew G. Alleyne, Nenad Miljkovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Analogous to an electrical rectifier, a thermal rectifier (TR) can ensure that heat flows in a preferential direction. In this paper, thermal transport nonlinearity is achieved through the development of a phase-change based TR comprising an enclosed vapor chamber having separated nanostructured copper oxide superhydrophobic and superhydrophilic functional surfaces. In the forward direction, heat transfer is facilitated through evaporation on the superhydrophilic surface and self-propelled jumping-droplet condensation on the superhydrophobic surface. In the reverse direction, heat transfer is minimized due to condensate film formation within the superhydrophilic condenser and inability to return the condensed liquid to the superhydrophobic evaporator. We examine the coupled effects of gap size, coolant mass, heat transfer rate, and applied electric field on the thermal performance of the TR. A maximum thermal diodicity, defined as the ratio of forward to reverse heat transfer, of 39 is achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number023110
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


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