Numerical simulation of interfaces and free surfaces

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Many engineering applications involve interfacial phenomena, because of the high heat transfer rates that can be achieved. There are many complexities that need to be addressed when modeling an interface, since an interface is generally irregular, involves mass transfer, is three-dimensional, and is not at a fixed location. There are two different approaches when considering an interface: a continuum and a noncontinuum approach. In many problems, the scale of the entire computational domain is much larger than the scale of the interfacial thickness, therefore the interface can be considered a planar surface and the continuum approach will give highly accurate results. With the development of nanotechnology, the scales of systems are becoming very small. Therefore, neglecting the thickness of the interface is no longer a valid assumption, and a noncontinuum approach is needed. This approach can be achieved through molecular dynamic simulations. A discussion tracking an interface using the continuum approach is given in Section 5.7.1, while the noncontinuum approach is given in Section 5.7.2.


Faghri, A., and Zhang, Y., 2006, Transport Phenomena in Multiphase Systems, Elsevier, Burlington, MA.

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