The synthesis and measurements of nanomaterials have yielded significant advances in the past decades. In the area of thermal conduction, the nanomaterials exhibit anomalous behavior such as size-dependent thermal conductivity, thermal rectification, and ultra-high thermoelectric properties. The theoretical understanding and modeling on these behaviors are much desired. In this chapter, we study the thermal conduction in nanomaterials through the thermomass theory, which models the heat transfer from a fluid mechanics viewpoint. The control equations of the equivalent mass of the thermal energy are formulated following the continuum mechanics principles, which give the general heat conduction law. It incorporates nonlinear effects such as spatial acceleration and boundary resistance, which can overcome the drawbacks of the traditional Fourier’s law in nanoscale systems. By the thermomass theory, we successfully model the size-dependent effective thermal conductivity in nanosystems. Furthermore, the thermal rectification as well as the thermoelectric enhancement in nanosystems is also discussed with the present framework.
Part of the book: Nanomechanics