Changes in the thermal conductivities of paraffin and mono ethylene glycol (MEG) as a function of β-SiC nanoparticle concentration
and size was studied. An enhancement in the effective thermal conductivity was found for both fluids (i.e., both paraffin
and MEG) upon the addition of nanoparticles. Although an enhancement in thermal conductivity was found, the degree of enhancement
depended on the nanoparticle concentration in a complex way. An increase in particle-to-particle interactions is thought to
be the cause of the enhancement. However, the enhancement became muted at higher particle concentrations compared to lower
ones. This phenomenon can be related to nanoparticles interactions. An improvement in the thermal conductivities for both
fluids was also found as the nanoparticle size shrank. It is believed that the larger Brownian motion for smaller particles
causes more particle-to-particle interactions, which, in turn, improves the thermal conductivity. The role that the base-fluid
plays in the enhancement is complex. Lower fluid viscosities are believed to contribute to greater enhancement, but a second
effect, the interaction of the fluid with the nanoparticle surface, can be even more important. Nanoparticle-liquid suspensions
generate a shell of organized liquid molecules on the particle surface. These organized molecules more efficiently transmit
energy, via phonons, to the bulk of the fluid. The efficient energy transmission results in enhanced thermal conductivity.
The experimentally measured thermal conductivities of the suspensions were compared to a variety of models. None of the models
proved to adequately predict the thermal conductivities of the nanoparticle suspensions.