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Title: Thermal contact conductance as a method of rectification in bulk materials

A thermal rectifier that utilizes thermal expansion to directionally control interfacial conductance between two contacting surfaces is presented. The device consists of two thermal reservoirs contacting a beam with one rough and one smooth end. When the temperature of reservoir in contact with the smooth surface is raised, a similar temperature rise will occur in the beam, causing it to expand, thus increasing the contact pressure at the rough interface and reducing the interfacial contact resistance. However, if the temperature of the reservoir in contact with the rough interface is raised, the large contact resistance will prevent a similar temperature rise in the beam. As a result, the contact pressure will be marginally affected and the contact resistance will not change appreciably. Owing to the decreased contact resistance of the first scenario compared to the second, thermal rectification occurs. A parametric analysis is used to determine optimal device parameters including surface roughness, contact pressure, and device length. Modeling predicts that rectification factors greater than 2 are possible at thermal biases as small as 3 K. Lastly, thin surface coatings are discussed as a method to control the temperature bias at which maximum rectification occurs.
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1064-2285; 481048
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Heat Transfer Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 47; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1064-2285
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; thermal contact conductance; thermal rectification; thermal contact resistance
OSTI Identifier: