Hydrophobicity, heat transfer, and momentum transfer at hard and soft aqueous interfaces

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Acharya, Hari
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Electronic thesis
Chemical and biological engineering
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Interfaces also lead to anomalous behavior in heat and momentum transport. Interfaces disrupt local structure and create boundary resistances that manifest in temperature discontinuities and interfacial slip. We explore the effects of chemical heterogeneity, nanoscale surface roughness, and directionality on thermal conductance across model solid-water interfaces. Interfacial conductance is directly influenced by the coupling strength or wettability of the surface. For chemically mixed surfaces, interfacial conductance does not precisely match with wettability. Surface roughness in general enhances conductance, but the improvement cannot be completely attributed to increased solvent accessible surfaced area. Momentum transport displays similar discontinuities at aqueous interfaces. These effects can be reduced through the use of osmolytes. Collectively this work highlights the influence of interfaces on heat and momentum transport. Insights are provided for modifying interfacial behavior and altering the property of interest.
Advancements in science and technology increasingly involve systems operating at the nanoscale. Interfaces are often present in these systems. Nanoscopic interfaces are ubiquitous in biological systems, nanofluidic devices, and integrated circuits. Properties at the interface may be quite different from the bulk, and in fact a true bulk may not be present in these systems. At the nanoscale the ratio of interface to volume is large, and the interface may have the dominant role in determining system behavior. Interfacial characteristics and their connection to interfacial properties are the focus of my thesis. Using molecular simulations of model interfaces we characterize how properties like chemistry, composition, and topography affect such phenomena such as hydrophobicity, heat transfer, and momentum transport at the nanoscale.
An interface is defined simply as where two materials meet and a change in some structure or order parameter is observed. In aqueous systems, the type studied here, these changes are relatively sharp and occur within a distance of nanometers. Water molecules near the interface are expected to display sensitivity to the underlying surface. Indeed, water near a hydrophobic surface is more deformable and has greater fluctuations. The hydrophobicity of chemically heterogeneous surfaces and proteins are characterized using these nanoscopic measures. We find the effect of mixing hydrophobic and hydrophobic head group chemistries is asymmetric, i.e., it is easier to make a hydrophobic surface hydrophilic than the reverse. The role of hydrogen bonding in hydrophobic and ion hydration is also characterized using a short range water model. Hydrophobic and ion hydration are reasonably captured with the short range water model. These studies show the importance of chemical composition and local hydrogen bonding in determining surface hydrophobicity.
August 2013
School of Engineering
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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