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Abstract  

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.

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Abstract  

Thermal conductivity is an important parameter in the field of nanofluid heat transfer. This article presents a novel model for the prediction of the effective thermal conductivity of nanofluids based on dimensionless groups. The model expresses the thermal conductivity of a nanofluid as a function of the thermal conductivity of the solid and liquid, their volume fractions, particle size and interfacial shell properties. According to this model, thermal conductivity changes nonlinearly with nanoparticle loading. The results are in good agreement with the experimental data of alumina-water and alumina-ethylene glycol based nanofluids.

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