Thermal transpiration based pumping and power generation devices

Pingying Zeng, Kang Wang, Jeongmin Ahn, Paul D. Ronney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A combustion-driven thermal transpiration-based combustor is presented. The combustor was successfully applied in a self-sustaining gas pump system having no moving parts and using readily storable hydrocarbon fuel. Thermal transpiration was accomplished by meeting two essential conditions: (1) gas flow in the transitional or molecular regime using glass microfiber filters as transpiration membranes and (2) a temperature gradient through the membrane using catalytic combustion downstream of the membrane. The effect of the transpiration membrane pore size on the performance of the gas pump was studied, and the experimental result which was quantitatively consistent with theoretical predictions was reported. The gas pump system was then converted to a novel, complete portable power generation system by incorporating a single-chamber solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC). The SOFC exhibited a maximum power density of 40 mW/cm2 at the temperature and fuel/oxygen concentrations within the transpiration gas pump.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)370-379
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thermal Science and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013


  • Gas pump
  • Miniature combustor
  • Miniature power generator
  • SOFC
  • Thermal transpiration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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