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Mechanism of Thermal Transport in Nanofluids

J. Eapen and S. Yip
MIT, US

Keywords:
MD, nanofluids

Abstract:
Nanofluids are colloids of nanosized metallic or oxide (solid) particles in traditional coolants such as water or gases. The most significant property which is of immediate interest to the industry is the enhanced thermal conductivities and heat transfer coefficients observed in the nanofluids. While such enhancements have been experimentally observed by several research teams including our research group, the mechanisms of transport and shear are still being debated. Part of the reason for this is that the complex chemical interactions which take place at the nanoparticle surface have not been yet identified and correlated to the transport mechanism. In view of this complexity, we perform molecular dynamics simulations on a model nanofluid system comprising of xenon and platinum clusters to analyze its thermal transport behavior. Simulations reveal the presence of relative large potential energy fluctuations which enhances the effective thermal conductivity of the nanofluid system. This mode of transport explains several of the puzzling observations in nanofluids such as the dramatic increase in the thermal conductivity with temperature and size dependency.

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