Complex coupling between surface charge and thermo-osmotic phenomena

M Ouadfel and M De San FĂ©liciano and C Herrero and S Merabia and L Joly, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 25, 24321-24331 (2023).

DOI: 10.1039/d3cp03083k

Thermo-osmotic flows, generated at liquid-solid interfaces by thermal gradients, can be used to produce electric currents from waste heat on charged surfaces. The two key parameters controlling the thermo-osmotic current are the surface charge and the interfacial enthalpy excess due to liquid-solid interactions. While it has been shown that the contribution from water to the enthalpy excess can be crucial, how this contribution is affected by surface charge remained to be understood. Here, we start by discussing how thermo-osmotic flows and induced electric currents are related to the interfacial enthalpy excess. We then use molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the impact of surface charge on the interfacial enthalpy excess, for different distributions of the surface charge, and two different wetting conditions. We observe that surface charge has a strong impact on enthalpy excess, and that the dependence of enthalpy excess on surface charge depends largely on its spatial distribution. In contrast, wetting has a very small impact on the charge-enthalpy coupling. We rationalize the results with simple analytical models, and explore their consequences for thermo-osmotic phenomena. Overall, this work provides guidelines to search for systems providing optimal waste heat recovery performance. Surface charge has a large and complex impact on interfacial enthalpy excess and liquid-solid slip, with important consequences for thermo-osmotic phenomena, which can be used to harvest waste heat.

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