Characterization of thermo-physical properties and forced convective heat transfer of poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) nanofluids.



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Colloidal solvents, containing dispersed nanometer (~1-100 nm) sized particles, are categorized as nanofluids. With the growing heat loads in engineering systems that exceed the current technological limits, nanofluids are considered as an attractive option for more efficient heat removal for thermal management applications. Recent results reported in the literature show that the thermo-physical properties of coolants are enhanced considerably when seeded with very minute concentrations of nanoparticles. Hence, nanofluids research has provoked interest in thermal management applications. The convective heat transfer characteristics of nanofluids are reported in this study. Exfoliated graphite nanoparticles were dispersed in poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) at concentrations of 0.3% and 0.6% (by weight). The heat flux into a convective cooling apparatus was monitored and the results for nanofluid and the base fluid are presented. Thermo-physical properties of the nanofluid were measured and compared with the base fluid. The thermo-physical properties of the fluid are observed to increase with the addition of the nanoparticles. The specific heat of nanofluid was increased by ~50% compared to PAO. The thermal diffusivity was enhanced by ~400% compared to PAO. The viscosity of the nanofluid was enhanced by 10-1000 times compared to PAO. The viscosity of the nanofluid was observed to increase with temperature while the viscosity of PAO decreases with temperature. The convective heat flux was enhanced by the nanofluids by up to ~8 % for experiments performed at different heat inputs. The experimental results show that the convective heat transfer enhancement potentially results from the precipitation of nanoparticles on the heated surface and results in enhanced heat transfer surfaces (?nano-fins?).