|Title||Thermal conductance of nanofluids: is the controversy over?|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2008|
|Authors||P Keblinski, Ravi S Prasher, J Eapen|
|Journal||J. Nanopart. Res.|
Over the last decade nanofluids (colloidal suspensions of solid nanoparticles) sparked excitement as well as controversy. In particular, a number of researches reported dramatic increases of thermal conductivity with small nanoparticle loading, while others showed moderate increases consistent with the effective medium theories on well-dispersed conductive spheres. Accordingly, the mechanism of thermal conductivity enhancement is a hotly debated topic. We present a critical analysis of the experimental data in terms of the potential mechanisms and show that, by accounting for linear particle aggregation, the well established effective medium theories for composite materials are capable of explaining the vast majority of the reported data without resorting to novel mechanisms such as Brownian motion induced nanoconvection, liquid layering at the interface, or near-field radiation. However, particle aggregation required to significantly enhance thermal conductivity, also increases fluid viscosity rendering the benefit of nanofluids to flow based cooling applications questionable.