A novel method of smoothing surfaces with nanoscale roughness is described, based on the Kelvin effect. The problem of vapor redistribution in cylindrical channels and over rough planar walls with nanoscale texture is posed and solved analytically. Vapor deposition (condensation) on the walls initially produces a deposit emulating the surface landscape. After a saturated state at the deposit surface is reached, the Kelvin effect should result in higher vapor pressure/ concentration near the convex sections of the wall and in lower vapor pressure/ concentration near the concave sections. As a result, local vapor fluxes should arise directed from the locally convex to the locally concave regions. Accordingly, the deposited layer at the wall should vaporize (or sublimate) at the convex sections due to depletion and vapor should condense at the concave sections, thus causing smoothing of physical surface unevenness. This mechanism of smoothing of nanoscale roughness has not been considered in detail or used before, even though the basic physics of the Kelvin effect is well known. In the present work, the smoothing kinetics is predicted and the characteristic timescales are calculated in the general case of axisymmetric and non-axisymmetric perturbations of the cylindrical channel walls, as well as for planar surfaces. In addition, experimental data are presented to show that the theoretically motivated approach is also practically realizable.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering