Fundamental Issues of Nano-fluid Behavior


Williams,-Wesley-C. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 massachusetts avenue cambridge, ma 02139-4307 (United States). This paper will elucidate some of the behaviors of nano-fluids other than the abnormal conductivity enhancement, which are of importance to the experimental and engineering use of nano-fluids. Nano-fluid is the common name of any sol colloid involving nano-scale (less than 100 nm) sized particles dispersed within a base fluid. It has been shown previously that the dispersion of nano-particulate metallic oxides into water can increase thermal conductivity up to 30-40% over that of the base fluid and anomalously more than the mere weighed average of the colloid. There is a great potential for the use of nano-fluids as a way to enhance fluid/thermal energy transfer systems. Due to the recentness of nano-fluid science, there are still many issues which have not been fully investigated. This paper should act as a primer for the basic understanding of nano-fluid behavior. Particle size and colloid stability are of key importance to the functionality of nano-fluids. The pH and concentration/loading of nano-fluids can alter the size of the nano-particles and also the stability of the fluids. It will be shown through experiment and colloid theory the importance of these parameters. Furthermore, most of the existing literature uses volume percentage as the measure of particle loading, which can often be misleading. There will be discussion of this and other misleading ideas in nano-fluid science.