Contributed by the Fluids Engineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF FLUIDS ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Fluids Engineering Division April 10, 2003; revised manuscript received November 24, 2003; Associate Editor: J. Celik

Over the past decade micro-machining technology has shown rapid development enabling manufacture of complex micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). Microscale pumps, turbines, thrusters, sensors and actuators are a few examples of these small-scale devices. The reduction in scale increases the complexity of these systems. Physical laws governing these devices vary greatly from macro scale systems, especially from the fluidics perspective.

As the mean free path of the gas becomes comparable to the length scale of the system, the fluid behavior tends to become rarefied (molecular) and the gas layer adjacent to walls move. The no-slip continuum model no longer can predict the flow without accommodating other factors like rarefaction, compressibility, viscous dissipation and thermal creep effects 1...

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