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Computational analysis of factors influencing thermal conductivity of nanofluids

Witharana, S, Okeke, G and Antony, SJ Computational analysis of factors influencing thermal conductivity of nanofluids. Journal of Nanoparticle Research. ISSN 1572-896X (In Press)

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Abstract

Numerical investigations are conducted to study the effect of factors such as particle clustering and interfacial layer thickness on thermal conductivity of nanofluids. Based on this, parameters including Kapitza radius and fractal and chemical dimension which have received little attention by previous research are rigorously investigated. The degree of thermal enhancement is analyzed for increasing aggregate size, particle concentration, interfacial thermal resistance, and fractal and chemical dimensions. This analysis is conducted for water-based nanofluids of Alumina (Al2O3), CuO, and Titania (TiO2) nanoparticles where the particle concentrations are varied up to 4 vol%. Results from the numerical work are validated using available experimental data. For the case of aggregate size, particle concentration, and interfacial thermal resistance, the aspect ratio (ratio of radius of gyration of aggregate to radius of primary particle, R g/a) is varied from 2 to 60. It was found that the enhancement decreases with interfacial layer thickness. Also the rate of decrease is more significant after a given aggregate size. For a given interfacial resistance, the enhancement is mostly sensitive to R g/a < 20 indicated by the steep gradients of data plots. Predicted and experimental data for thermal conductivity enhancement are in good agreement. On the influence of fractal and chemical dimensions (d l and d f) of Alumina–water nanofluid, the R g/a was varied from 2 to 8, d l from 1.2 to 1.8, and d f from 1.75 to 2.5. For a given concentration, the enhancement increased with the reduction of d l or d f. It appears a distinctive sensitivity of the enhancement to d f, in particular, in the range 2–2.25, for all values of R g/a. However, the sensitivity of d l was largely depended on the value of R g/a. The information gathered from this study on the sensitivity of thermal conductivity enhancement to aggregate size, particle concentration, interfacial resistance, and fractal and chemical dimensions will be useful in manufacturing highly thermally conductive nanofluids. Further research on the refine cluster evolution dynamics as a function of particle-scale properties is underway.

Item Type: Article
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Engineering (Leeds) > School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 12 Sep 2011 12:59
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2013 17:33
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11051-011-0389-9
Status: In Press
Publisher: Springer
Identification Number: 10.1007/s11051-011-0389-9
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43261

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