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Burelbach, Jerome; Brueckner, David B.; Frenkel, Daan; Eiser, Erika (2018): Thermophoretic forces on a mesoscopic scale. In: Soft Matter, Vol. 14, No. 36: pp. 7446-7454
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We use a mesoscale-molecular simulation technique known as Multi-Particle Collision Dynamics (MPC) to study the forces acting on a stationary colloid inside a temperature gradient. We compare our measurements of the thermophoretic force to a theoretical prediction based on Onsager's reciprocal relations, assuming that the temperature gradient is constant across the colloid. We find a good agreement between our measurements and theoretical predictions over a wide range of system parameters, even when the condition of uniform gradients is not strictly fulfilled. Our measurements further suggest that the magnitude of the thermophoretic force depends on the hydrodynamic boundary condition at the colloidal surface, thus highlighting the hydrodynamic character of colloidal thermophoresis. We also investigate how fluid advection disturbs the interfacial layer around the colloid and introduce a dimensionless number to quantify the validity of local thermodynamic equilibrium.