This paper investigates transient heat conduction between a heated microcantilever and its air environment. Continuum finite element simulations allow detailed analysis of heat flow within and from the resistively heated microcantilever. Heat generation of 8 mW excites the cantilever with heating that is either steady, pulse, sinusoidal, or pulse duty cycle. The time-averaged heat conduction from the cantilever leg to the nearby air is typically two to six times greater than the heat conduction from the heater to the air. The cooling time constant increases as the pulse heating time increases; for heating times of 1-1000 μs, the cooling time ranges 4.6-70 μs. The effective heat transfer coefficients around the heater and around the leg are considerably large; on the order of 1 kW/m2 K. This study of heat transfer between a microcantilever and its surrounding air environment will aid the design and operation of microcantilever heaters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1631-1641
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number8-9
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Finite element analysis
  • Microcantilever
  • Thermal conduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal conduction between a heated microcantilever and a surrounding air environment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this