Date of Award
Master of Science
The study on developing a mathematical model for thermal conductivity enhancement in nanofluids was based on formation of nanoparticles into nanoclusters, nanolayer thickness, Brownian motion and volume fraction of nanoclusters. An equation for the thermal conductivity of nanofluids was developed. The expression developed successfully explained the enhanced thermal conductivity of nanofluids and led to some important conclusions. It was found that in this study the nanoparticles tend to form nanoclusters and the volume fraction of the nanoclusters and the trapped fluid in the nanocluster was contributing to the overall thermal conductivity enhancement. Various types of cluster formation was analyzed and it was understood that the nanoparticles forming a spherical nanoclusters are more effective in thermal conductivity enhancement. The contribution of Brownian motion of nanoparticles to the overall thermal conductivity of nanofluids was found to be very small. The study investigated the size distribution of nanoparticles which has been suggested to be an important factor and it gave satisfactory results. The values of the thermal conductivity for different nanofluid combinations were calculated using the expression developed from this study and they agreed with published experimental data. The present model was tested against several nanofluid combinations. To understand the properties that influence the thermal conductivity of nanofluids, parametric studies of a number of nanofluids were carried out. The parameters that were scrutinized to understand themal conductivity enhancement were nanoparticle diameter, nanolayer thickness and brownian motion. From the study, it was observed that Brownian motion is significant only when the particle diameter is less than 10 nm. From the parametric studies the mathematical model derived in this study was validated. The major factor for the thermal conductivity enhancement in nanofluids is the formations of nanoclusters. The combination of the base fluid and nanoparticles to from nanoclusters will provide better cooling solution than the convention cooling fluids.
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