Manipulating thermal fields with inhomogeneous heat spreaders

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We design a class of spatially inhomogeneous heat spreaders in the context of steady-state thermal conduction leading to spatially uniform thermal fields across a large convective surface. Each spreader has a funnel-shaped design, either in the form of a trapezoidal prism or truncated cone, and is forced by a thermal source at its base. We employ transformation-based techniques, commonly used to study metamaterials, to determine the required thermal conductivity for the spreaders. The obtained materials, although strongly anisotropic and inhomogeneous, are accurately approximated by assembling isotropic, homogeneous layers, rendering them realisable. An alternative approach is then considered for the conical and trapezoidal spreaders by dividing them into two or three isotropic, homogeneous components respectively. We refer to these simple configurations as neutral layers. All designs are validated numerically both with and without the effects of thermal contact resistance between layers. Such novel designs pave the way for future materials that can manipulate and control the flow of heat, helping to solve traditional heat transfer problems such as controlling the temperature of an object and energy harvesting.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-240
JournalApplied Mathematical Modelling
Early online date10 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022