Thermal relaxation and critical instability of near-critical fluid microchannel flow

Lin Chen, Xin Rong Zhang, Junnosuke Okajima, Shigenao Maruyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


We present two-dimensional numerical investigations of the temperature and velocity evolution of a pure near-critical fluid confined in microchannels. The fluid is subjected to two sides heating after it reached isothermal steady state. We focus on the abnormal behaviors of the near-critical fluid in response to the sudden imposed heat flux. New thermal-mechanical effects dominated by fluid instability originating from the boundary and local equilibrium process are reported. Near the microchannel boundaries, the instability grows very quickly and an unexpected vortex formation mode is identified when near-critical thermal-mechanical effect is interacting with the microchannel shear flow. The mechanism of the new kind of Kelvin-Helmholtz instability induced by boundary expansion and density stratification processes is also discussed in detail. This mechanism may bring about innovations in the field of microengineering.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043016
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr 30


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