As miniature and high-heat-dissipation equipment became major manufacture and operation trends, heat-rejecting and heat-transport solutions faced increasing challenges. In the 1970s, researchers showed that particle suspensions can enhance the heat transfer efficiency of their base fluids. However, their work was hindered by the sedimentation and erosion issues caused by the relatively large particle sizes in their suspensions. More recently, nanofluids--suspensions of nanoparticles in liquids-were proposed to be applied as heat transfer fluids, because of the enhanced thermal conductivity that has generally been observed. However, in practical applications, a heat conduction mechanism may not be sufficient for cooling high-heat-dissipation devices such as microelectronics or powerful optical equipment. Thus, the thermal performance under convective, i.e., flowing heat transfer conditions becomes of primary interest. In addition, with the presence of nanoparticles, the viscosity of a nanofluid is greater than its base fluid and deviates from Einstein's classical prediction. Through the use of a test rig designed and assembled as part of this dissertation, the viscosity and heat transfer coefficient of nanofluids can be simultaneously determined by pressure drop and temperature difference measurements under laminar flow conditions. An extensive characterization of the nanofluid samples, including pH, electrical conductivity, particle sizing and zeta potential, is also documented. Results indicate that with constant wall heat flux, the relative viscosities of nanofluid decrease with increasing volume flow rate. The results also show, based on Brenner's model, that the nanofluid viscosity can be explained in part by the aspect ratio of the aggregates. The measured heat transfer coefficient values for nanofluids are generally higher than those for base fluids. In the developing region, this can be at least partially explained by Prandtl number effects. The Nusselt number ( Nu ) results for nanofluid show that Nu increases with increasing nanofluid volume fraction and volume flow rate. However, only DI-H2O (deionized water) and 5/95 PG/H2O (PG = propylene glycol) based nanofluids with 1 vol% nanoparticle loading have Nu greater than the theoretical prediction, 4.364. It is suggested that the nanofluid has potential to be applied within the thermally developing region when utilizing the nanofluid as a heat transfer liquid in a circular tube. The suggested Reynold's number is greater than 100.
- Experiments on laminar convective heat transfer with r-Al2O3 nanofluids