Nanoscale Transport Phenomena in Sustainable Energy and Thermal Management Systems using Molecular Dynamics Simulations
A key to a sustainable energy and environment future is the development and optimization of enhanced energy conversion and transport technologies. On the conversion side, proton-exchange-membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) are promising due to their high power density with low emission, and on the transport side, efficient thermal energy transport systems are in great demand in many practical applications. In such systems, some of the nanoscale transport phenomena dominantly control the key functionalities, and their fundamental understandings are crucial to optimal system/material designs.
In the first part of the seminar, underlying physics of water and proton transport within the PEM will be discussed at the atomic scale by a molecular simulation. The key to the PEMFC is the use of the PEM, which provides solid-state ionic conduction pathways and separation of the reactant gases. One issue of PEMs is their role in PEMFC water management; the membrane needs hydration to conduct proton, but too much produced water as a result of electrochemical reaction floods the porous electrodes, resulting in limited gaseous reactant supply and poor performance. There is a strong need to understand how water moves and interacts within the membrane in order to optimize the material design and operation.
In the second part, nanoscale behaviors of fluid particles in nanostructures will be discussed for the development of novel nanoscale thermal management systems using a non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulation. To design such a system, a first step requires understandings of the dynamic behaviors of the fluid particles confined in the nanostructure, and the effective thermal conductivity across the nanostructure is examined in various temperatures. Based on the obtained results, the future developments of the novel nanoscale thermal management systems will be discussed.
Dr. Hwang currently works in Department of Mechanical Engineering at Wichita State University as an assistant professor. Prior to this, he worked in Environmental Energy Technologies Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2010-2013) as a post-doctoral fellow after he earned his M.S. (2006) and Ph.D. (2010) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, in the field of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells and thermal energy management systems. His research interests are the development and optimization of the nano-/micro-scale heat and energy transport/conversion systems using modeling and experiments.
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