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Review

Thermophysical and electrokinetic properties of


nanouids A critical review
S.M.S. Murshed, K.C. Leong
*
, C. Yang
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798, Republic of Singapore
Received 3 December 2007; accepted 9 January 2008
Available online 16 January 2008
Abstract
In the past decade, nanouids have attracted much interest because of their reported superior thermal performance and many poten-
tial applications. However, there are many inconsistencies in reported experimental results of the thermophysical properties such as the
eective thermal conductivity of nanouids and controversies in the underlying enhanced mechanisms. In this paper, various aspects of
nanouids including synthesis, potential applications, experimental and analytical studies on the eective thermal conductivity, eective
thermal diusivity, convective heat transfer, and electrokinetic properties are critically reviewed.
2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Nanouids; Eective thermal conductivity; Thermal diusivity; Viscosity; Electrokinetic properties
Contents
1. Background. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2110
1.1. Development and concept of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2110
1.2. Impact and potential benefits of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2110
1.3. Potential applications of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2111
1.3.1. Engineering applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2111
1.3.2. Medical applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2111
2. Synthesis of nanofluids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2112
3. Experimental studies on thermal conductivity of nanofluids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2112
3.1. Measurement method . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2112
3.2. Effect of volume fraction and particle size . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2113
3.3. Effect of fluid temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2115
4. Studies on thermal diffusivity of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2116
5. Studies on viscosity of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2117
6. Theoretical studies on nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2118
6.1. Underlying mechanisms for the enhanced thermal conductivity of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2118
6.2. Models for the effective thermal conductivity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2118
7. Electrokinetic phenomena of nanofluids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2121
8. Convective heat transfer studies of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2121
9. Computational studies on heat transport of nanofluids . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2122
1359-4311/$ - see front matter 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2008.01.005
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +65 6790 4725; fax: +65 6792 2619.
E-mail address: mkcleong@ntu.edu.sg (K.C. Leong).
www.elsevier.com/locate/apthermeng
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
10. Summary and future work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2123
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2123
1. Background
1.1. Development and concept of nanouids
With ever-increasing thermal loads due to smaller fea-
tures of microelectronic devices and higher power out-
puts, thermal management of such devices to maintain
their desired performance and durability is one of the
most important technical issues in many high-technology
industries such as microelectronics, transportation and
manufacturing. The conventional method of increasing
the cooling rate is to use extended heat transfer surfaces
for exchanging heat with a heat transfer uid. However,
this approach requires an undesirable increase in the size
of the thermal management system. In addition, the inher-
ently poor thermophysical properties of conventional heat
transfer uids such as water, ethylene glycol (EG) or
engine oil (EO) greatly limit the cooling performance.
Thus, conventional methods for increasing heat dissipa-
tion are not suitable to meet the demand of these high-
technology industries. There is therefore, a need to
develop advanced cooling techniques and innovative heat
transfer uids with better heat transfer performance than
those presently available.
It is well known that at room temperature, metallic sol-
ids possess an order-of-magnitude higher thermal conduc-
tivity than uids. For example, the thermal conductivity
of copper at room temperature is about 700 times greater
than that of water and about 3000 times greater than that
of engine oil (Fig. 1). Therefore, the thermal conductivities
of uids containing suspended solid metallic or nonmetallic
(metallic oxide) particles would be expected to be signi-
cantly higher than those of conventional heat transfer u-
ids. As the thermal conductivity of a uid plays a vital
role in the development of energy-ecient heat transfer
equipment, numerous theoretical and experimental studies
on increasing the thermal conductivity of liquids by sus-
pending small particles have been conducted since the trea-
tise by Maxwell more than a century ago [1]. However, all
such studies on thermal conductivity of suspensions have
been conned to millimeter- or micrometer-sized particles.
The main problems of using such suspensions are the rapid
settling of particles, clogging of ow channels, and
increased pressure drop in the uid. If the uid is kept cir-
culating rapidly enough to prevent much settling, the
microparticles would damage the walls of the heat transfer
devices (e.g. pipes and channels) and wear them out. In
contrast, nanoparticles due to their high surface to volume
ratio can remain in suspension and thereby reduce erosion
and clogging. Nanoparticles are also suitable for use in
microsystems because they are many orders of magnitude
smaller than the microsystems.
Over the last several decades, scientists and engineers
have attempted to develop uids, which oer better cooling
or heating performance for a variety of thermal systems
compared to conventional heat transfer uids. Applying
nanotechnology to thermal engineering, the novel concept
of a nanouid which was coined at Argonne National
Laboratory of USA by Choi in 1995 [3] has been proposed
to meet these cooling challenges. This new class of heat
transfer uids (nanouids) is engineered by dispersing
nanometer-sized (one billionth of a meter) solid particles,
rods or tubes in traditional heat transfer uids. From the
investigations in the past decade, nanouids were found
to exhibit signicantly higher thermal properties, in partic-
ular, thermal conductivity, than those of base uids [412].
Thus, nanouids have attracted great interest from the
research community due to their potential benets and
applications in numerous important elds such as micro-
electronics, transportation, manufacturing, medical, and
HVAC.
1.2. Impact and potential benets of nanouids
The impact of nanouid technology is expected to be
great considering that heat transfer performance of heat
exchangers or cooling devices is vital in numerous indus-
tries. For example, the transport industry has a need to
reduce the size and weight of vehicle thermal management
systems and nanouids can increase thermal transport of
coolants and lubricants. When the nanoparticles are prop-
erly dispersed, nanouids can oer numerous benets [2,13]
besides the anomalously high eective thermal conductiv-
ity. These benets include:
Material
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
T
h
e
r
m
a
l

c
o
n
d
u
c
t
i
v
i
t
y

(
W
/
m
-
K
)
0
500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
3500
1- Engine oil
2- Ethylene glycol
3- Water
4- Alumina
5- Silicon
6- Aluminum
7- Copper
8- Silver
9- Multiwalled carbon nanotubes
(MWCNT)
0.25 0.61 0.15
Fig. 1. Thermal conductivity of typical materials (solids and liquids) at
300 K [2].
2110 S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
(1) Improved heat transfer and stability: Because heat
transfer takes place at the surface of the particles, it
is desirable to use particles with larger surface area.
The relatively larger surface areas of nanoparticles
compared to microparticles, provide signicantly
improved heat transfer capabilities. In addition, par-
ticles ner than 20 nm carry 20% of their atoms on
their surface, making them instantaneously available
for thermal interaction [2]. With such ultra-ne parti-
cles, nanouids can ow smoothly in the tiniest of
channels such as mini- or micro-channels. Because
the nanoparticles are small, gravity becomes less
important and thus chances of sedimentation are also
less, making nanouids more stable.
(2) Microchannel cooling without clogging: Nanouids
will not only be a better medium for heat transfer
in general, but they will also be ideal for microchan-
nel applications where high heat loads are encoun-
tered. The combination of microchannels and
nanouids will provide both highly conducting uids
and a large heat transfer area. This cannot be
attained with macro- or micro-particles because they
clog microchannels.
(3) Miniaturized systems: Nanouid technology will sup-
port the current industrial trend toward component
and system miniaturization by enabling the design
of smaller and lighter heat exchanger systems. Minia-
turized systems will reduce the inventory of heat
transfer uid and will result in cost savings.
(4) Reduction in pumping power: To increase the heat
transfer of conventional uids by a factor of two,
the pumping power must usually be increased by a
factor of 10. It was shown that by multiplying the
thermal conductivity by a factor of three, the heat
transfer in the same apparatus was doubled [3]. The
required increase in the pumping power will be very
moderate unless there is a sharp increase in uid vis-
cosity. Thus, very large savings in pumping power
can be achieved if a large thermal conductivity
increase can be achieved with a small volume fraction
of nanoparticles.
The better stability of nanouids will prevent rapid set-
tling and reduce clogging inthe walls of heat transfer devices.
The high thermal conductivity of nanouids translates into
higher energy eciency, better performance, andlower oper-
ating costs. They can reduce energy consumption for pump-
ing heat transfer uids. Miniaturized systems require smaller
inventories of uids where nanouids can be used. Thermal
systems can be smaller and lighter. In vehicles, smaller com-
ponents result in better gasoline mileage, fuel savings, lower
emissions, and a cleaner environment [14].
1.3. Potential applications of nanouids
With the aforementioned highly desired thermal proper-
ties and potential benets, nanouids can be seen to have a
wide range of industrial and medical applications, which
are elaborated here.
1.3.1. Engineering applications
Nanouids can be used to improve thermal management
systems in many engineering applications including:
(a) Nanouids in transportation: The transportation
industry has a strong demand to improve perfor-
mance of vehicle heat transfer uids and enhance-
ment in cooling technologies is also desired.
Because engine coolants, engine oils, automatic trans-
mission uids, and other synthetic high temperature
uids currently possess inherently poor heat transfer
capabilities, they could benet from the high thermal
conductivity oered by nanouids. Nanouids would
allow for smaller, lighter engines, pumps, radiators,
and other components. Lighter vehicles could travel
further on the same amount of fuel i.e. more mileage
per liter. More energy-ecient vehicles would save
money. Moreover, burning less fuel would result in
lower emissions and thus reduce environment pollu-
tion. Therefore, in transportation systems, nanouids
can contribute greatly.
(b) In micromechanics and instrumentation: Since 1960s,
miniaturization has been a major trend in science
and technology. Microelectromechanical systems
(MEMS) generate a lot of heat during operation.
Conventional coolants do not work well with high-
power MEMS because they do not have enough cool-
ing capability. Moreover, even if large-sized solid
particles were added to these coolants to enhance
their thermal conductivity, they still could not be
applied in practical cooling systems, because the par-
ticles would be too big to ow smoothly in the extre-
mely narrow cooling channels required by MEMS.
Since nanouids can ow in microchannels without
clogging, they would be suitable coolants. They could
enhance cooling of MEMS under extreme heat ux
conditions.
(c) In heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC)
systems: Nanouids could improve heat transfer
capabilities of current industrial HVAC and refriger-
ation systems. Many innovative concepts are being
considered; one involves pumping of coolant from
one location where the refrigeration unit is housed
in another location. Nanouid technology could
make the process more energy ecient and cost
eective.
1.3.2. Medical applications
Magnetic nanoparticles in body uids (biouids) can be
used as delivery vehicles for drugs or radiation, providing
new cancer treatment techniques. Due to their surface
properties, nanoparticles are more adhesive to tumor cells
than normal cells. Thus, magnetic nanoparticles excited
S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125 2111
by an AC magnetic eld is promising for cancer therapy.
The combined eect of radiation and hyperthermia is due
to the heat-induced malfunction of the repair process right
after radiation-induced DNA damage. Therefore, in future
nanouids can be used as advanced drug delivery uids.
2. Synthesis of nanouids
Preparation of nanouids is the rst key step to investi-
gate the heat transfer performance of nanouids. A nano-
uid does not mean a simple mixture of liquid and solid
nanoparticles. Techniques for good dispersions of nano-
particles in liquids or directly producing stable nanouids
are crucial. Nanouids are produced by dispersing nano-
meter-sized solid particles into liquids such as water, ethyl-
ene glycol, or oils. Modern fabrication technologies
provide great opportunities to process materials at nano-
meter scales. Nanostructured materials exhibit new or
enhanced properties, which are not exhibited by the bulk
solids. There are mainly two techniques for synthesizing
nanouids, which are the two-step process and the direct
evaporation technique or single-step process [3,4].
In the two-step process, dry nanoparticles are rst pro-
duced by an inert gas condensation method and they are
then dispersed into a uid. Fig. 2 shows TEM images of
several types of commercial nanoparticles (Nanostructured
and Amorphous Materials, Inc., USA). This method may
result in a large degree of nanoparticle agglomeration.
Thus, proper dispersion techniques and small volume frac-
tion of nanoparticles are important to produce stable nano-
uids by this technique. An advantage of the two-step
process in terms of eventual commercialization of nano-
uids is that the inert gas condensation technique can pro-
duce tonnage quantities of nanopowders.
The direct evaporation technique synthesizes nanoparti-
cles and disperses them into a uid in a single step. As with
the inert gas condensation technique, this technique
involves the vaporization of a source material under vac-
uum conditions. An advantage of this process is that nano-
particle agglomeration is minimized. The disadvantages are
that the liquid must have a very low vapor pressure and
that this technique can produce very limited amounts of
nanouids. At present, most researchers use the two-step
process to produce nanouids by dispersing commercial
or self-produced nanoparticles in a liquid. The optimiza-
tion (i.e. improvement) of thermal properties of nanouids
requires stable nanouids, which can be ensured by proper
synthesis and dispersion procedures.
3. Experimental studies on thermal conductivity of nanouids
3.1. Measurement method
Since the transient hot-wire (THW) method was rst sug-
gested by Stalhane and Pyk (Horrocks and McLaughlin[15])
in1931 tomeasure the absolute thermal conductivity of pow-
ders, many researchers have modied the method to make it
more accurate. With development of modern electronic
instrumentation and use of a proper theoretical basis, this
method has evolved into an accurate means of determining
the thermal conductivity of uids. Attempts have been made
by several researchers to extend the THW method to mea-
sure the thermal conductivity of electrically conducting
media. Nagasaka and Nagashima [16] performed thermal
conductivity measurements of electrically conducting liquids
by considering the electrical insulation layer eect on heat
transfer intheir experimental facility. Nosignicant negative
eect of insulation layer was found.
Although several studies reported the use of the steady-
state technique [7,17], temperature oscillation technique [9],
and the 3x-wire method [18] to determine the eective ther-
mal conductivity of nanouids, these techniques are not as
accurate as the THW method. The temperature oscillation
technique measures the thermal diusivity and derives the
Fig. 2. TEM photographs of nanoparticles from Nanostructured and Amorphous Materials, Inc., USA: (a) TiO
2
(15 nm) and (b) Al
2
O
3
(80 nm).
2112 S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
thermal conductivity from this measured value and the vol-
umetric specic heat of sample. Similar to the hot-wire
method, the 3x-wire method uses a metal wire suspended
in a liquid. A sinusoidal current at frequency x passes
through the metal wire and generates a heat wave at fre-
quency 2x, which is deduced by the voltage component
at frequency 3x. The 3x-wire method may be suitable to
measure temperature-dependent thermal conductivity.
The THW method has proved to be one of the most
accurate techniques of determining the thermal conductiv-
ity of a uid [15,16]. The advantage of this method lies in
its near elimination of natural convection eects. In addi-
tion, this method is very fast compared to other techniques.
The conceptual design of the hot-wire apparatus is also
simple when compared to other techniques.
3.2. Eect of volume fraction and particle size
In the past few years, many experimental investigations
on the thermal conductivity of nanouids have been
reported. The eective thermal conductivities of nanouids
containing dierent concentrations, materials and sizes of
nanoparticles dispersed in dierent base uids have been
experimentally investigated. The published results on the
thermal conductivity of nanouids at room temperature
are summarized in Table 1.
Reported results of the eective thermal conductivity of
nanouids as a function of nanoparticle volume fraction
from various research groups are shown in Fig. 3. It can
be seen that even for the same nanouids, dierent groups
reported dierent enhancements.
Table 1
Summarized results for thermal conductivity of dierent types of nanouids
Researchers Nanouids [particle
(size in nm)/base uid]
Measurement technique Observed signicant enhancement of thermal
conductivity (k) with particle volume percentage
Eastman et al. [4] Al
2
O
3
(33)/water THW method 29% for 5 vol%
CuO (36)/water 60% for 5 vol%
Cu (35)/oil 44% for 0.052 vol%
Lee et al. [6] Al
2
O
3
(38)/water/EG THW method CuO/EG: 22% for 4 vol%
CuO (23.6)/water/EG Al
2
O
3
/EG: 18% for 5 vol%
Wang et al. [7] Al
2
O
3
(28)/water/EG Steady-state method Al
2
O
3
/water: 12% for 3 vol%
CuO (23)/water/EG Al
2
O
3
/EG: 26% for 5 vol%
Xuan and Li [8] Cu (100)/water/TO THW method Cu/water: 54% for 5 vol%
Choi et al. [19] MWCNT (25 nm 50 lm)/oil THW method 160% for 1 vol%
Eastman et al. [5] Cu (<10)/EG THW method 40% for 0.3 vol%
CuO (35)/EG 22% for 4 vol%
Xie et al. [20] Al
2
O
3
(60.4)/water/EG THW method Al
2
O
3
/EG: 30% for 5 vol%
Wang et al. [21] Al
2
O
3
(29)/EG Steady-state parallel
plate method
18% for 4 vol%
TiO
2
(40)/EG 13% for 5 vol%
Wang et al. [17] CuO (50)/DIW Quasi-steady state 17% for 0.4 vol%
Xuan and Li [22] Cu (10)/water THW method 70% for 3 vol%
Patel et al. [23] Au (1020)/toluene/water THW method Au/toluene: 5.5% for 0.008 vol% at 30 C
Kumar et al. [24] Au (4)/water/toluene THW method Au/water: 20% for 0.00013 vol% at 30 C
Murshed et al. [10] TiO
2
(15)/DIW THW method 30% for 5 vol%
TiO
2
(10 40)/DIW 33% for 5 vol%
Hong et al. [11] Fe (10)/EG THW method 18% for 0.55 vol%
Kwak and Kim
[25]
CuO (12)/EG THW method 6% for 1 vol%
Li and Peterson
[12]
CuO (29)/water Steady-state method 52% for 6 vol% at 34 C
Al
2
O
3
(36)/water 30% for 10 vol% at 34 C
Zhu et al. [26] Fe
3
O
4
(10)/water THW method 38% for 4 vol%
Hwang et al. [27] CuO (35.4)/water/EG THW method CuO/EG: 9% for 1 vol%
Xuan et al. [28] Cu (35.4)/water THW method 24% for 2 vol%
Murshed et al. [29] Al
2
O
3
(80)/DIW THW method 24% for 5 vol%
Liu et al. [30] CuO (29)/EG THW method 23% for 5 vol%
Krishnamurthy
et al. [31]
Al
2
O
3
(20)/water Unspecied 16% for 1 vol%
Wen and Ding [32] TiO
2
(34)/water THW method 6% for 0.66 vol%
Putnam et al. [33] Au (4)/ethanol Optical beam deection
technique
1.3% 0.8% for 0.018 vol%
Kang et al. [34] Diamond (3040)/EG THW method 75% for 1.32 vol%
Ag (815)/water 11% for 0.4 vol%
Murshed et al. [35] TiO
2
(15)/EG THW method 18% for 5 vol%
Al (80)/EG 45% for 5 vol%
Notation: DIW, EG, TO, and MWCNT stand for deionised water, ethylene glycol, transformer oil, and multi-wall carbon nanotubes, respectively and
THW stands for transient hot-wire.
S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125 2113
From the reported results shown in Table 1 and Fig. 3, it
is clear that nanouids exhibit much higher thermal con-
ductivities than their base uids even when the concentra-
tions of suspended nanoparticles are very low and they
increase signicantly with nanoparticle volume fraction.
Several representative studies on the thermal conductivity
of nanouids are elaborated below.
The rst results on the enhanced eective thermal con-
ductivity of nanouids were reported by Eastman et al.
[4]. By dispersing Al
2
O
3
and CuO nanoparticles in water,
the reported increase in thermal conductivity were 29%
and 60%, respectively for a nanoparticle volumetric load-
ing of 5%. Surprisingly, in the case of Cu/oil-based
nanouids, the thermal conductivity was increased by
about 44% by dispersing only 0.052 vol% of Cu nanopar-
ticles in HE-200 oil. The same group [6] later showed a
moderate enhancement of thermal conductivity for the
same ceramic nanoparticles (Al
2
O
3
and CuO) dispersed
in water and ethylene glycol. For instance, a 20%
enhancement in the thermal conductivity of ethylene gly-
col was observed for 4.0 vol% of CuO nanoparticles.
Wang et al. [17] reported a signicant 17% increase in
the thermal conductivity for a loading of 0.4 vol% of
50 nm sized same nanoparticles (CuO) in water.
Recently, Li and Peterson [12] measured the thermal con-
ductivity of the same ceramic nanouids i.e. CuO
(29 nm)/water and Al
2
O
3
(36 nm)/water by using a
steady-state method named as cut-bar apparatus. Their
results were more astounding as both the CuO and
Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles increased the thermal conductivity
of water by 52% and 22%, respectively at a volume frac-
tion of just 6% at 34 C.
Choi et al. [19] measured the thermal conductivity of oil
suspensions containing multi-walled carbon nanotubes
(MWCNT). At 1% volumetric loading, the thermal con-
ductivity was increased by 160%. Interestingly, the conduc-
tivity increase as a function of nanotubes loading is
nonlinear even at very low volume fractions. The possible
reason was thought to be strong interactions of thermal
elds associated with dierent bers.
Thermal conductivities of several types of nanouids
were experimentally studied by Wang et al. [21]. In their
study, nanouids were prepared by suspending CuO
(33 nm), Al
2
O
3
(29 nm) and TiO
2
(40 nm) in ethylene glycol
and their thermal conductivities were measured by the
steady-state parallel plate method. The Al
2
O
3
/EG-based
nanouids showed 18% increase in the thermal conductiv-
ity at particle vol% of 4. In contrast, Xie et al. [20] observed
about 30% increase in the thermal conductivity for 5 vol%
of Al
2
O
3
(60.4 nm) nanoparticles in the same base uid.
Although the particle size used by Xie et al. was double
that of the particles of Wang et al., their results showed a
much higher thermal conductivity than that of Wang
et al. for this nanouid. This discrepancy could be due to
dierent measurement methods and adjustment of pH val-
ues of the nanouids used by Xie et al. However, Xie
et al.s [20] study showed that the eective thermal conduc-
tivity of nanouids depends on the particle size and the pH
values of the suspension.
Patel et al. [23] used gold and silver nanoparticles to pre-
pare water and toluene-based nanouids. Their results
showed that at room temperature, the conductivity of
Au/toluene nanouid was enhanced by 47% for very
low volumetric loading of 0.0050.011%, whereas the
enhancement for Au/water nanouid was about 3.25%
for a vanishingly small concentration of 0.00130.0026%.
The reason for such anomalously high thermal conductiv-
ities was the small size of nanoparticles and high thermal
conductivity of particle materials. Later, a larger enhance-
ment in thermal conductivity of Au (4 nm)/water-based
nanouids was reported by the same group [24]. At extre-
mely low volumetric loading of 1.3 10
4
% of ultra-ne
Au nanoparticles, the thermal conductivity was found to
increase by 20% at 30 C.
Particle volume fraction
0.00 0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05
k
n
f
/
k
f
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
Al
2
O
3
(33 nm)/water [4]
Al
2
O
3
(20 nm)/water [31]
Al
2
O
3
(60.4 nm)/water [20]
Al
2
O
3
(38 nm)/EG [6]
Al
2
O
3
(28 nm)/EG [7]
Al
2
O
3
(60.4 nm)/EG [20]
CuO (36 nm)/water [4]
CuO (50 nm)/water [17]
Cu (35 nm)/oil [4]
Au (4 nm)/water [24]
TiO
2
(15 nm)/DIW [10]
Al (80 nm)/EG [35]
Fig. 3. Comparison of experimental results of the enhanced thermal conductivity of nanouids.
2114 S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
Murshed et al. [10] measured the thermal conductivity of
TiO
2
of 15 nm and 10 40 nm sized spherical and cylindri-
cal shape nanoparticles in deionized water. For the low vol-
ume fraction (<1%), their results showed a nonlinear
increase in thermal conductivity. They, however, found sig-
nicant increase i.e. 32% (for 5 vol%) in thermal conductiv-
ity with volume fraction. Furthermore, their results showed
that cylindrical shape nanoparticles exhibit slightly higher
thermal conductivity compared to spherical shape nano-
particles. Subsequently, Murshed et al. [29,35] and Leong
et al. [67] presented more results for several types of nano-
uids i.e. Al
2
O
3
/DI water, TiO
2
/EG, and Al/EG to vali-
date their thermal conductivity models. For a particle
volumetric loading of 5%, the maximum enhancement of
thermal conductivities of TiO
2
(15 nm)/EG- and Al
(80 nm)/EG-based nanouids are 18% and 45%, respec-
tively. Nanouids having higher thermally conductive
nanoparticles (Al) exhibit much higher thermal conductiv-
ity compared to the nanouids having lower thermally con-
ductive nanoparticles (TiO
2
).
For Fe (10 nm)/EG-based nanouids, a large increase in
thermal conductivity was reported by Hong et al. [11].
They obtained an enhancement of 18% with just
0.55 vol% of Fe nanoparticles. They also noticed that son-
ication has a signicant eect on the thermal conductivity
of nanouids. Nonetheless, their observed enhancement
for this nanouid was even much higher than that of the
Cu/EG-based nanouids obtained by Eastman et al. [5].
This indicates that the suspension of high conductivity
materials is not always eective to improve thermal con-
ductivity of nanouids.
By using the co-precipitation method, Zhu et al. [26]
prepared Fe
3
O
4
(10 nm)/water-based nanouids and mea-
sured the thermal conductivity by the THW method. They
found a 38% increase in the thermal conductivity for the
nanoparticle volume fraction of 0.04. Zhu et al. ascribed
such anomalously high thermal conductivity to the nano-
particle alignment in clusters.
Putnam et al. [33] performed experiments to measure the
thermal conductivity of Au (4 nm)/ethanol-based nano-
uids by the optical beam deection technique. For the rst
time, their results showed no anomalous enhancement of
thermal conductivity of nanouids with very low particle
volume fraction. Their observed maximum enhancement
in thermal conductivity was 1.3% 0.8% for 0.018% volu-
metric loading of 4 nm Au particles in ethanol. This result
is directly in conict with the anomalous result of Patel
et al. [23] for the same nanouid.
From a comparison of the reported studies, the incre-
ments of thermal conductivities are dierent for dierent
types of nanouids. The thermal conductivity of nanouids
varies with the size, material of nanoparticles as well as
base uids. For instance, nanouids with metallic nanopar-
ticles were found to have a higher thermal conductivity
than nanouids with nonmetallic (oxide) nanoparticles.
The smaller the particle size, the larger the thermal conduc-
tivities of nanouids. Furthermore, several studies reported
that high conductivity nanoparticles are not always eec-
tive in enhancing the thermal conductivity of nanouids
[11,36].
The particle size is important because shrinking it down
to nanoscale not only increases the surface area relative to
volume but also generates some nanoscale mechanisms in
the suspensions [14,3739]. Theoretical evidence [37,38,40]
indicate that the eective thermal conductivity of nano-
uids increases with decreasing particle size. Chon and
Kihm [41] experimentally measured the thermal conductiv-
ity of nanouids with nanoparticles of dierent sizes. They
showed that the 47 nm Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles in water gave a
larger increase in thermal conductivity compared to the
150 nm nanoparticles.
3.3. Eect of uid temperature
Fluid temperature may play an important role in
enhancing the eective thermal conductivity of nanouids.
Despite the fact that nanouids may be used under various
temperatures, very few studies were performed to investi-
gate the temperature eect on the eective thermal conduc-
tivity of nanouids. A summary of the published results on
temperature-dependent thermal conductivity of various
nanouids is provided in Table 2.
Das et al. [9] experimentally investigated the eect of
temperature on the thermal conductivity of nanouids con-
taining Al
2
O
3
(38.4 nm) and CuO (28.6 nm) nanoparticles
in water. A temperature oscillation technique, which deter-
mines the thermal conductivity through measuring the
thermal diusivity of sample medium, was used in their
study. They reported a two- to four-fold increase in ther-
mal conductivity enhancement for these nanouids over a
temperature range of 2151 C. It was also observed that
CuO/water-based nanouids showed a higher enhance-
ment with respect to temperature than that of Al
2
O
3
/
water-based nanouids. Nonetheless, their maximum mea-
surement error was of the order of 7% at 50 C. Das et al.
suggested that the strong temperature dependence of ther-
mal conductivity was due to the Brownian motion of nano-
particles. Using the THW technique, the same group [23]
performed experiments for water-based nanouids contain-
ing 1020 nm sized Au particles. Nanouids with citrate
stabilization showed thermal conductivity enhancement
of 521% in a temperature range of 3060 C at a very
low volumetric loading of 0.00026%. They concluded that
chemical eects came into play in determining the extent
of energy transfer in nanouids.
By dispersing Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles of 47 nm and 150 nm
in water, Chon and Kihm [41] studied the eects of particle
size and uid temperature on the thermal conductivity of
nanouids. They observed a moderate enhancement of
thermal conductivity with respect to temperature. The ther-
mal conductivity of Al
2
O
3
(47 nm)/water-based nanouids
increased by 611% when the uid temperature was
increased from 31 C to 51 C. Chon and Kihm also
showed the inverse dependence of particle size on the ther-
S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125 2115
mal conductivity of nanouids. They identied Brownian
motion of the nanoparticles as the possible mechanism
for increased thermal conductivity with uid temperature.
However, results obtained by Li and Peterson [12] demon-
strated a surprising increase in the thermal conductivity of
nanouids with a small increase of uid temperature. For
example, for Al
2
O
3
(47)/water-based nanouids at
2 vol%, an increase in uid temperature to 36 C resulted
in an enhancement of three times compared to the thermal
conductivity at 27.5 C.
Yang and Han [18] measured the thermal conductivity
of suspensions of Bi
2
Te
3
(20 170 nm) nanorods in
FC72 and in oil (hexadecane) by using the 3x-wire method.
Interestingly, they observed a slightly decrease in the ther-
mal conductivity with increasing temperature, which is in
contrast to the trend observed in nanouids containing
spherical nanoparticles. The contrary trend was claimed
to be due mainly to the particle aspect ratio.
Venerus et al. [42] used the forced Rayleigh scattering
technique to measure the thermal conductivity of Au
(22)/water and Al
2
O
3
(30)/petroleum oil-based nanouids
in the range of 2575 C. In contrast to all other reported
results, they found that the level of thermal conductivity
enhancement for these nanouids is independent of
temperature.
Very recently, the eect of temperature on the enhance-
ment of eective thermal conductivity of various nano-
uids was investigated by Murshed et al. [35] for
temperatures from 20 to 60 C. At 60 C, the eective ther-
mal conductivity of Al
2
O
3
(80 nm)/EG-based nanouids
increases by about 9% and 12% (compared to that of the
base uid) for nanoparticle volumetric loadings of 0.5%
and 1%, respectively. The enhancement of eective thermal
conductivity of Al (80 nm)/EO nanouids are 20% and
37% for volumetric loadings of 1% and 3% nanoparticles
in the base uid, respectively. Their results for Al
2
O
3
(80 nm)/DIW-based nanouids at 1% volumetric loading
were found to be consistent with the experimental data of
Das et al. [9] and Chon and Kihm [41] although the size
of their Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles is much larger. For the same
size (150 nm) of Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles, Murshed et al.s
results of thermal conductivity are slightly higher than
those reported by Chon and Kihm [41]. The observed dif-
ferences could be due to the addition of surfactant to nano-
uids and the dierent measurement methods.
Other than the studies of Yang and Han [18] and Vene-
rus et al. [42], all published results demonstrate that the
thermal conductivity of nanouids increases signicantly
with the uid temperature. However, there is a clear lack
of consistency among the reported results of dierent
research groups.
4. Studies on thermal diusivity of nanouids
While the determination and prediction of the eective
thermal conductivity of nanouids have attracted much
attention in recent years, very little work has been per-
formed on the eective thermal diusivity of nanouids,
which is especially important in convective heat transfer
applications. Xuan and Roetzel [43] discussed the eective
thermal diusivity tensor for owing uids under both lam-
inar and turbulent ow conditions. However, neither
experimental nor theoretical result for the eective thermal
diusivity of nanouids was provided in their paper. Wang
et al. [44] measured the thermal conductivity and specic
heat of some nanouids and thereby calculated their eec-
tive thermal diusivity. Their calculated results were also
found to uctuate severely with volume fraction.
Murshed et al. [45] studied the eective thermal diusiv-
ity of several types of nanouids at dierent volume per-
centages (15%) of titanium dioxide (TiO
2
), aluminum
oxide (Al
2
O
3
) and aluminum (Al) nanoparticles in ethylene
glycol and engine oil. The thermal diusivities of these
nanouids measured directly by a novel transient double
hot-wire technique were found to increase substantially
with increased volume fraction of nanoparticles in base u-
Table 2
Temperature-dependent thermal conductivity of nanouids
Researchers Nanouids [particle
(size in nm)/base uid]
Measurement technique Observed maximum enhancement of thermal conductivity (k) with
temperature
Das et al. [9] Al
2
O
3
(38.4)/water Temperature oscillation
technique
For 4 vol%: 16% at 36 C and 25% at 51 C
CuO (28.6)/water For 1 vol%: 22% at 36 C and 30% at 51 C
Patel et al. [23] Au (1020)/water THW method For 0.00026 vol%: 521% at temperature range of 3060 C
Chon and Kihm
[41]
Al
2
O
3
(47)/water THW method 6% at 31 C and 11% at 51 C
Al
2
O
3
(150)/water 3% at 31 C and 8.5% at 51 C [for 1 vol%:]
Li and Peterson
[12]
Al
2
O
3
(36)/water Steady-state method For 2 vol%: 7% at 27.5 C and 23% at 36 C
Yang and Han
[18]
Bi
2
Te
3
(20 170)/FC72/oil 3x-Wire method For Bi
2
Te
3
/FC72 at 0.8 vol%: 8% at 10 C and 7% at 40 C
Venerus et al.
[42]
Au (22)/water Al
2
O
3
(30)/
petroleum oil
Forced Rayleigh scattering No enhancement but slight decrease with the temperature in the
range of 2575 C
Murshed et al.
[35]
Al
2
O
3
(80)/EG THW method 1 vol%: 11.4% at 60 C
Al
2
O
3
(80)/DIW 1 vol%: 12.1% at 60 C
Al
2
O
3
(150)/DIW 1 vol%: 10.3% at 60 C
Al (80)/EO 3 vol%: 37% at 60 C
2116 S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
ids. For example, for maximum 5% volumetric loading of
TiO
2
nanoparticles of 15 nm and 10 40 nm in ethylene
glycol, the maximum increase in eective thermal diusiv-
ity was observed to be 25% and 29%, respectively. Nano-
uids with aluminum nanoparticles in ethylene glycol and
engine oil showed substantial enhancement of thermal dif-
fusivity i.e. maximum 49% and 36%, respectively compared
to their base uids. The eects of particle shape and base
uid were also observed in their study.
5. Studies on viscosity of nanouids
Although some review articles [39,46,47] emphasized the
signicance of investigating the viscosity of nanouids,
very few studies on eective viscosity were reported. It is
believed that viscosity is as critical as thermal conductivity
in engineering systems that employ uid ow. Pumping
power is proportional to the pressure drop, which in turn
is related to uid viscosity. In laminar ow, the pressure
drop is directly proportional to the viscosity.
Masuda et al. [48] measured the viscosity of suspensions
of dispersed ultra-ne particles in water. They found that
TiO
2
(27 nm) particles at a volumetric loading of 4.3%
increased the viscosity of water by 60%. Wang et al. [7]
observed that the eective viscosity of Al
2
O
3
(28 nm)/
DIW-based nanouids was increased by about 86% for a
5 vol% of nanoparticles. In their case, a mechanical blend-
ing technique was used for dispersion of Al
2
O
3
nanoparti-
cles in distilled water. They also found an increase of about
40% in viscosity of ethylene glycol at a volumetric loading
of 3.5% of Al
2
O
3
nanoparticles. Their results indicate that
the viscosity of nanouids depends on dispersion methods.
In contrast, Pak and Cho [49] found that at 10 vol% con-
centration of nanoparticles, the viscosities of Al
2
O
3
(13 nm)/water and TiO
2
(27 nm)/water-based nanouids
are several times greater than that of water. This large dis-
crepancy could be due to dierences in dispersion tech-
nique and size of particles. Pak and Cho also used
adjusted pH values and employed an electrostatic repulsion
technique. As expected, the viscosity of nanouids depends
on the methods used to disperse and stabilize the nanopar-
ticle suspension. Their [49] viscosity results were signi-
cantly larger than the predictions from the classical
theory of suspension rheology such as Einsteins model
[50].
Das et al. [51] and Putra et al. [52] measured the viscos-
ity of Al
2
O
3
/water and CuO/water-based nanouids as a
function of shear rate and showed Newtonian behavior
of the nanouids for a range of volume percentage between
1% and 4%. For Al
2
O
3
/water-based nanouids, Das et al.
[51] also observed an increase in viscosity with an increase
of particle volume fraction.
At a given shear rate, Ding et al. [53] observed that the
viscosity of nanouids increased with an increasing CNT
concentration and decreasing temperature. A clear shear
thinning was observed at all concentrations. This suggests
that nanouids can oer better uid ow performance
due to the higher shear rate at the wall, which results in
low viscosity.
Prasher et al. [54] reported the viscosity results of alu-
mina-based nanouids for various shear rates, tempera-
ture, and particle volume fraction. Their data
demonstrate that viscosity is independent of shear rate,
proving that the nanouids are Newtonian in nature. It
also shows that with increasing nanoparticle volume frac-
tion, the viscosity also increases. On the other hand, they
found that viscosity is independent of temperature. This
is contrary to the normal dependence of liquid viscosity
on temperature.
For TiO
2
(34 nm)/water-based nanouids, Wen and
Ding [32] found about 20% increase in the eective viscos-
ity for a concentration of 2.4 weight %. However, a much
higher viscosity increase was observed under low share rate
conditions i.e. 25100 s
1
.
As shown in Fig. 4, Murshed et al. [35] measured the vis-
cosity of TiO
2
(15 nm)/DIW-based nanouids. Their
results were higher than those of Masuda et al. [48] who
showed that TiO
2
(27 nm) particles at a volume fraction
of 4.3% increased the viscosity of water by 60%. However,
viscosities of Al
2
O
3
(80 nm)/DIW-based nanouids were
found to increase by nearly 82% for the maximum volumet-
ric loading of nanoparticles 5%. A similar increment (86%)
of the eective viscosity of the same nanouids was also
observed by Wang et al. [7]. Comparisons between the
results obtained by Murshed et al. [35] and the predictions
by Krieger and Doughertys [55] and Nielsens [56] models
showed that these models severely under-predict the viscos-
ity of nanouids (Fig. 4).
All reported results show that the viscosity of nanouids
is increased anomalously and cannot be predicted by clas-
sical models such as by Einstein [50], Krieger and Dough-
erty [55], Nielsen [56], and Batchelor [57]. No rm
conclusion can be drawn from the above uctuating data
of several nanouids. Thus, more thorough investigations
Particle volume fraction
0.01 0.02 0.03 0.04 0.05
R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e

v
i
s
c
o
s
i
t
y

(

n
f
/

f
)
1.0
1.2
1.4
1.6
1.8
2.0
2.2
2.4
TiO
2
/DIW
Masuda et al. [48] (TiO
2
/water)
Al
2
O
3
/DIW
Wang et al. [7] (Al
2
O
3
/water)
K-D [55] model (TiO
2
/DIW)
Nielsen's [56] model (TiO
2
/DIW)
Fig. 4. Relative viscosities of nanouids with nanoparticle volume
fraction.
S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125 2117
should be carried out on the eective viscosity of
nanouids.
6. Theoretical studies on nanouids
6.1. Underlying mechanisms for the enhanced thermal
conductivity of nanouids
The classical models which were developed from the
eective medium theory for the eective thermal conductiv-
ity of composites have been veried by experimental data
for mixtures with low concentrations of milli- or microme-
ter-sized particles. Experiments have shown that nanouids
exhibit anomalously high thermal conductivity, which can-
not be predicted accurately by the classical models. To
explain the observed enhanced thermal conductivity of
nanouids, Wang et al. [7] and Keblinski et al. [37] pro-
posed various mechanisms, which were not considered by
classical models. Wang et al. [7] suggested that the micro-
scopic motion of nanoparticles, the surface properties,
and the structural eects might cause enhanced thermal
conductivity of nanouids. In nanouids, the microscopic
motion of the nanoparticles due to Brownian motion,
van der Waals force, and electrostatic force can be signi-
cant. Wang et al. however, showed that Brownian motion
does not contribute signicantly to the heat energy trans-
port in nanouids. They indicated that the electric double
layer and van der Waals force could have strong electroki-
netic eects on the nanoparticles. The surface properties
and structural eects were not conrmed as potential
mechanisms in their study.
Keblinski et al. [37] later elucidated four possible mech-
anisms for the anomalous increase in nanouids heat trans-
fer, and these mechanisms are (i) Brownian motion of the
nanoparticles, (ii) liquid layering at the liquid/particle
interface, (iii) nature of the heat transport in the nanopar-
ticles, and (iv) the eect of nanoparticle clustering.
Brownian motion is caused by the random bombard-
ment of liquid molecules. Due to the Brownian motion,
particles randomly move through the liquid, thereby
enabling stronger transport of heat (compared to sole heat
conduction), which can increase the eective thermal con-
ductivity. For Brownian motion to be a signicant contrib-
utor to the thermal conductivity, it would have to be a
more ecient mechanism than thermal diusion in the
uid. However, by a simple analysis, Keblinski et al. [37]
showed that the thermal diusion is much faster than
Brownian diusion, even within the limits of extremely
small particles.
When the size of the nanoparticles in a nanouid
becomes less than the phonon mean-free path, phonons
no longer diuse across the nanoparticle but move ballisti-
cally without any scattering. However, it is dicult to envi-
sion how ballistic phonon transport could be more eective
than a very-fast diusion phonon transport, particularly to
the extent of explaining anomalously high thermal conduc-
tivity of nanouids. No further work or analysis has been
reported on the ballistic heat transport nature of nanopar-
ticles. Instead, the continuum approach was adopted in all
reported works [17,29,35,38].
Liquid layering around the particle (i.e. nanolayer) was
proposed as another responsible mechanism accounting
for higher thermal properties of nanouids. The basic idea
is that liquidmolecules canforma layer aroundthe solidpar-
ticles and thereby enhance the local ordering of the atomic
structure at the interface region. Hence, the atomic structure
of such liquid layer is signicantly more ordered than that of
the bulk liquid. Given that solids, which have much ordered
atomic structure, exhibit much higher thermal conductivity
than liquids, the liquid layer at the interface would reason-
ably have a higher thermal conductivity than the bulk liquid.
Thus the nanolayer is considered as an important factor
enhancing the thermal conductivity of nanouids.
The eective volume of a cluster is considered much lar-
ger than the volume of the particles due to the lower pack-
ing fraction (ratio of the volume of the solid particles in the
cluster to the total volume of the cluster) of the cluster.
Since heat can be transferred rapidly within such clusters,
the volume fraction of the highly conductive phase (cluster)
is larger than the volume of solid, thus increasing its ther-
mal conductivity [11,37]. It is however noted that in gen-
eral, clustering may also exert a negative eect on heat
transfer enhancement, particularly at a low volume frac-
tion by settling small particles out of the liquid and creating
a large regions of particle free liquid with a high thermal
resistance [37].
Besides these mechanisms, it is the authors believe that
the eects of particle surface chemistry and particles inter-
action for nanometer-sized particles could be signicant in
enhancing the thermal conductivity of nanouids.
6.2. Models for the eective thermal conductivity
To predict the eective thermal conductivity of solid
particle suspensions, several models were developed since
the treatise by Maxwell [1]. As mentioned previously, these
classical models such as those attributed to Maxwell [1],
HamiltonCrosser [58], Bruggeman (Hui et al. [59]), and
Wasp (Xuan and Li [8]) were developed for predicting
the eective thermal conductivity of a continuum medium
with well-dispersed solid particles.
The Maxwell model [1] was developed to determine the
eective electrical or thermal conductivity of liquidsolid
suspensions for low volumetric loading of spherical parti-
cles. This model is applicable to statistically homogeneous
and low volume fraction liquidsolid suspensions with ran-
domly dispersed and uniformly sized spherical particles.
Hamilton and Crosser [58] modied Maxwells model to
determine the eective thermal conductivity of nonspheri-
cal particles by applying a shape factor. For spherical par-
ticles, the Hamilton and Crosser (HC) model reduces to the
Maxwell model. The Bruggeman model (BGM) [59] is
another well-known model for determining the eective
thermal conductivity of mixture and composites. In this
2118 S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
model, the mean eld approach is used to analyze the inter-
actions among the randomly distributed particles. The
Wasp model is the same as the Maxwell model although
it is not specied for any particular shape of particles.
The classical models were found to be unable to predict
the anomalously high thermal conductivity of nanouids.
This is because these models do not include the eects of
particle size, interfacial layer at the particle/liquid interface,
and Brownian motion of particles, which are considered as
important factors for enhancing thermal conductivity of
nanouids [7,3740,60]. Recently, many theoretical studies
have been carried out to predict the anomalously increased
thermal conductivity of nanouids. Several models have
been proposed to include various mechanisms. A detailed
summary of all classical and recently developed models
for the prediction of the eective thermal conductivity of
nanouids is provided in Table 3.
Yu and Choi [38,61] modied the Maxwell and Hamil-
tonCrosser models to account for the eect of the interfa-
cial layer. They replaced the thermal conductivity and
volume fraction of nanoparticles with the thermal conduc-
tivity and volume fraction of equivalent particles (i.e. par-
ticle with a nanolayer), respectively. The thermal
conductivity of an equivalent particle is considered to be
the same as the thermal conductivity of particle. This is
not realistic because the interfacial layer is formed by the
liquid molecules wrapping over the particle surface and
the concentration of these adsorbed molecules in the inter-
Table 3
Summary of models for the eective thermal conductivity of nanouids
Researchers Classical models/equations Remarks
Maxwell [1] k
eff
=k
f

kp2kf 2/kpkf
kp2kf /kpkf
Depends on the thermal conductivities of both phases and volume
fraction of solid
Hamilton and
Crosser (HC)
[58]
k
eff
=k
f

kpn1kf n1/kf kp
kpn1kf /kf kp
_ _
Valid for both the spherical and cylindrical particles and n = 3/w
where w is the particle sphericity
Bruggeman (Hui
et al. [59])
k
eff

1
4
3/ 1k
p
2 3/k
f

kf
4

D
p
where Valid for spherical particles and considered interaction between
particles D = [(3/ 1)
2
(k
p
/k
f
)
2
+ (2 3/)
2
+ 2(2 + 9/ 9/
2
)(k
p
/
k
f
)]
Wasp (Xuan and
Li [8])
k
eff
=k
f

kp2kf 2/kf kp
kp2kf /kf kp
Same as Maxwell model
Researchers Models/Expressions for nanouids Remarks
Wang et al. [17]
keff
kf

1/3/
_
1
0
k
cl
rnr
k
cl
r2k
f
dr
1/3/
_
1
0
k
f
nr
k
cl
r2k
f
dr
Based on eective medium approximation (EMA) and fractal theory
Xue [60] 9 1
v
k
_ _
keff kf
2keff kf

v
k
keff kc;x
keff B2;xkc;xkeff
4
keff kc;y
2keff 1B2;xkc;y keff
_ _
0 Based on the Maxwell theory and average polarization theory with
the interfacial shell eect
Yu and Choi
[38,61]
(1) k
eff
=k
f

kpe2kf 2/kpekf 1b
3
kpe2kf /kpkf 1b
3
Considered interfacial layer where (1) modied Maxwell model and
(2) modied HC model with n = 3w
a
(2) k
eff
=k
f
1
n/
eff
A
1/
eff
A
, where A
1
3

ja;b;c
kpj kf
kpj n1kf
Xuan et al. [62] k
eff
=k
f

kp2kf 2/kf kp
kp2kf /kf kp

/q
p
cp
2kf

KBT
3prcg
_
Second term of the equation has wrong units while rst term is the
Maxwell model
Kumar et al. [24] k
eff
=k
f
1 c
2KBT
pgd
2
p
/rf
kf 1/rp
Based on kinetic theory and Fouriers law
Jang and Choi [40] k
eff
=k
f
1 c
df
dp
k
f
/Re
2
dp
Pr Based on convection and conduction heat transport
Prasher et al. [63] k
eff
=k
f
1 A/Re
m
Pr
0:333

12a2/1a
12a/1a
where a
f
= 2R
b
k
f
/
d
p
Included the eect of convection near the particle and interfacial
resistance with unknown parameters A, m, R
b
Koo and
Kleinstreuer [64]
k
eff
=k
f

kMG
kf

1
kf
5 10
4
b/q
p
c
p

KBT
q
p
D
_
f T; / Assumed randomly moving nanoparticles with surrounding liquid
motion having unknown parameters of b and f
Xie et al. [65] k
eff
=k
f
1 3H/
2H
2
/
2
1H/
Considered the presence of a nanolayer
Gao and Zhou [66] 1 /
kf
keff
_ _
3A
kf B1
keff B1
_ _
3C1
kf B2
keff B2
_ _
3C2
Based on EMA and for spherical particles, it reduces to Bruggeman
model
Leong et al. [67] k
eff

kpklr /
p
klr2c
3
1
c
3
1kp2klr c
3
1
/
p
c
3
klrkf kf
c
3
1
kp2klr kpklr /
p
c
3
1
c
3
1
Considered interfacial layer as separate component and for spherical
shape particle
Murshed et al. [29] k
eff

kf 10:27/
4=3
p
kp
k
f
1
_ _ _ _
1
0:52/p
1/
1=3
p
kp
k
f
1
_ _
_ _
1/
4=3
p
kp
k
f
1
_ _
0:52
1/
1=3
p
0:27/
1=3
p
0:27
_ _
Based on homogeneous distribution of nanoparticles
Murshed et al. [35] k
eff

kpklr /
p
klrc
2
1
c
2
1kpklr c
2
1
/
p
c
2
klr kf kf
c
2
1
kpklrkpklr /
p
c
2
1
c
2
1
For cylindrically shaped particles in base uid
Notation: k is the thermal conductivity, d is the particle diameter, and / is the particle volume fraction. Subscripts e, p, f, l, and c, denote eective,
particle, base uid, layer, and cluster, respectively.
S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125 2119
facial layer is lower than that of the solid particle. Hence,
the interfacial layer thermal conductivity should be lower
than that of the solid particles but higher than that of the
liquid. Apart from the dimension and thermal conductivity
of nanolayer, the particle shape factor is also unknown in
their model [61].
Xue [60] proposed a model for calculating the eective
thermal conductivity of nanouids. His model is based
on the Maxwell theory and average polarization theory,
which includes the interfacial shell eect. In validating
Xues [60] model with the experimental data of Choi
et al. [19], two incorrect parameters (semi-axis and depolar-
ization factor) were used. By using the two corrected
parameters, Yu and Choi [61] later showed that Xues
model gave far higher values of thermal conductivity (e.g.
k
nf
= 32k
f
for 1 vol%) than those given in his paper [60].
Thus, the validity and accuracy of Xues model are yet to
be established.
Based on the fractal theory for the clustering and
polarization of nanoparticles, Wang et al. [17] modied
the Maxwell model. Their model, however, requires the
thermal conductivity of particle cluster and their radius
distribution to be determined numerically. In addition,
this model is yet to be validated with more experimental
results.
Xie et al. [65] deduced a model for the prediction of the
eective thermal conductivity of nanouids by considering
the impact of interfacial layer. However, similar to Yu and
Choi [38,61] and Xue [60] models, this empirical model has
to be tted with experimental data by adjusting two tting
parameters. This model also does not consider any
dynamic mechanism. By taking into account geometric
and physical anisotropy, Gao and Zhou [66] proposed a
dierential eective medium model based on the Brugg-
eman model. For spherical particles, their model reduces
to the Bruggeman model. By considering the uniformity
and geometrical structures (e.g. body centered cubic) of
homogenously dispersed nanoparticles in base uids, a
model was developed by Murshed et al. [29] for the eective
thermal conductivity of nanouids which shows a nonlin-
ear nature. However, for Al
2
O
3
/DIW-based nanouids,
this model yields much higher thermal conductivity values
than those of experimental data.
All the existing models can be categorized into two gen-
eral groups, which are
(i) static models which assume stationary nanoparticles
in the base uid in which the thermal transport prop-
erties are predicted by conduction-based models such
as those of Maxwell and HamiltonCrosser, and
(ii) dynamic models which are based on the premise that
nanoparticles have lateral, random motion in the
uid. The particle motion is believed to be responsi-
ble for energy transport directly through collision
between nanoparticles or indirectly through microliq-
uid convection that enhances the thermal energy
transfer.
Researchers in the rst group [17,34,35,38,40,60,
61,65,6770] used the concept of a liquid/solid interfacial
layer to develop models and to explain the anomalous
improvement of the thermal conductivity in nanouids.
Approaches adopted in these studies can be classied under
the static model category. Except for Leong et al.s [67]
model, most of these models were developed by directly
modifying the Maxwell model, HamiltonCrosser model,
or Bruggeman model through the particle volume fraction.
The layer dimension and properties are assumed to be
much higher in order to t the experimental data. Recently,
Sabbaghzadeh and Ebrahimi [69] presented a model for
cylindrically shaped particles by combining the approaches
of Jang and Choi [40], Ren et al. [70] and Xie et al. [65].
Their model takes into account the eect of the nanolayer
in exactly the same way as Ren et al. and Xie et al.
Other groups of researchers emphasized on the contri-
bution of dynamic part related to particle Brownian
motion. Although Wang et al. [7] and Keblinski et al.
[37] showed that the contribution of Brownian motion to
energy transport in nanouids is not signicant, other
researchers [62,24] held contrary views. Considering aggre-
gation and Brownian motion of nanoparticles, Xuan et al.,
[62] deduced a model for the eective thermal conductivity
of nanouids. However, their proposed model [Eq. (13) in
their paper] yields the wrong units. Kumar et al. [24] devel-
oped a model based on Fouriers law of diusion and
applied the kinetic theory to consider Brownian motion
of the nanoparticles. However, they postulated that the
mean-free path of a nanoparticle in uid is of the order
of 1 cm, which is physically unrealistic. Moreover, their
model predicts an inverse cubic dependency on the particle
diameter 1=d
3
p
as opposed to a simple inverse dependency
(1/d
p
).
Jang and Choi [40] postulated that Brownian motion
contributes to microconvection. They deduced a theoretical
model that accounts for the role of dynamic nanoparticles
in nanouids. Koo and Kleinstreuer [64] and Prasher et al.
[63] considered the importance of Brownian-motion-driven
convection in the uid, rather than its direct contribution
to the thermal conductivity of the particle motion itself.
The models proposed by these researchers include the con-
tribution of Brownian motion, and were derived from the
kinetic theory. It is noted that the kinetic theory is not
directly applicable to nanouids without making signicant
corrections. The arguments presented by Jang and Choi
[40] are neither consistent nor convincing. Macroscale con-
vection behavior was assumed at the nanoscale by invoking
macroscale correlations for ow around a solid sphere.
Since the mean-free path of liquid is independent of the
particle diameter, it can be found [from Eqs. (11) and
(12) in their paper] that their Reynolds number becomes
independent of particle size, which is not a justied conclu-
sion. The correlation for ow past a sphere, however,
assumes that the Reynolds number is linearly dependent
on the sphere diameter. In Prasher et al.s [63] model, the
2120 S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
eective thermal conductivity of nanouids varies substan-
tially with unknown parameters (especially constant m),
which could only be determined by matching the experi-
mental data. Similar to Jang and Choi [40], the Reynolds
number dened in Prasher et al.s model also needs to be
justied.
Recently, Eapen et al. [71] dened a possible mechanism
of thermal transport in dilute nanouids. By calculating the
heat ux from a nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simu-
lation (NEMD) they showed that there are three modes,
which are (i) the kinetic, (ii) the potential, and (iii) the
collisions.
Most recently, an improved model was developed by
Leong et al. [72] to predict the eective thermal conductiv-
ity of nanouids containing spherically shaped nanoparti-
cles. Compared to existing models, their model shows
better agreement with experimental results. This was attrib-
uted to the inclusion of both static and dynamic mecha-
nisms such as particle size, nanolayer, particle movement,
particle surface chemistry and interaction potential.
7. Electrokinetic phenomena of nanouids
Electrochemical eects certainly inuence the thermal
conductivity of nanouids through stability and particle
interactions. For example, the electrostatic repulsive force,
which is described by the zeta potential, is important to
avoiding agglomeration and thus sedimentation of nano-
particles. Although some review articles [39,73] pro-
nounced that the surface chemistry of nanoparticles could
be an important factor inuencing the thermal conductivity
of nanouids, there are very few reported studies which
investigate its eect on the enhanced thermal conductivity
of nanouids. Xie et al. [74] showed that simple acid treat-
ment of carbon nanotubes enhanced the suspension stabil-
ity of carbon nanotubes in water. It was attributed to
hydrophobic-to-hydrophilic conversion of the surface nat-
ure due to the generation of a hydroxyl group. Patel et al.
[23] reported that 4 nm gold nanoparticles with a coating of
a covalent chain in toluene were about 50 times less eec-
tive for heat transport than uncoated 1020 nm gold parti-
cles in water. This is contrary to the ndings of the
nanoparticle size eect on the eective thermal conductivity
of nanouids [24,40].
Lee et al. [75] investigated the eect of zeta potential and
particle hydrodynamic size (i.e. the mobility equivalent size)
on the thermal conductivity of nanouids. The hydrody-
namic diameter of CuO nanoparticles and thermal conduc-
tivity of the nanouids at dierent pHvalues were measured
in their study. Their results demonstrated that the pH value
aects the thermal performance of the nanouids. As the
solution pH value departs from the iso-electric point of par-
ticles, the colloidal particles become more stable and even-
tually alter the thermal conductivity of the uid. They
identied that the surface charge state is primarily responsi-
ble for the enhancement of thermal conductivity of the
nanouids. However, no further research was reported.
Prasher et al. [76] studied the eect of aggregation on the
eective thermal conductivity of nanouids. They claimed
that the observed thermal conductivity of nanouids can
be explained by the aggregation kinetics. It was also
reported that the colloidal chemistry plays a signicant role
in deciding the thermal conductivity of nanouids.
8. Convective heat transfer studies of nanouids
Compared to the reported research on thermal conduc-
tivity, investigations on convective heat transfer of nano-
uids are scarce. A summary of previous studies on forced
convection heat transfer of nanouids is given in Table 4.
Pak and Cho [49] performed experiments on convective
heat transfer of two types of nanouids i.e. c-Al
2
O
3
and
TiO
2
dispersed in water, under turbulent ow conditions.
Even though the Nusselt number (Nu) was found to
increase with the particle volume fraction and the Reynolds
number, the heat transfer coecient (h) actually decreased
by 312%. On the other hand, Eastman et al. [81] showed
that with less than 1 vol% of CuO nanoparticles, the con-
vective heat transfer coecient of water under dynamic
ow conditions was increased more than 15%.
The experimental results of Xuan and Li [22] illustrated
that the convective heat transfer coecient of Cu/water-
Table 4
Summary of forced convection heat transfer experimental studies of nanouids
Researchers Geometry/ow nature Nanouids Findings
Pak and Cho
[49]
Tube/turbulent Al
2
O
3
(13 nm), TiO
2
(27 nm)/water
At 3 vol%, the convective heat transfer coecient (h) was 12% smaller than
pure water for a given average uid velocity
Xuan and Li
[22]
Tube/turbulent Cu (<100 nm)/water A larger enhancement of h with volume fraction (/) and Reynolds number
(Re) was observed
Wen and
Ding [77]
Tube/laminar Al
2
O
3
(13 nm)/water Increased h with / and Reynolds number was observed
Ding et al.
[53]
Tube/laminar CNT/water At 0.5 wt.%, h increased by more than 350% at Re = 800
Heris et al.
[78]
Circular tube/laminar Al
2
O
3
(20 nm), CuO (50
60 nm)/water
h increase with / and Pe. Al
2
O
3
shows higher enhancement than that of CuO
Lai et al. [79] Tube/laminar Al
2
O
3
(20 nm)/DIW Nu increased 8% for / = 0.01 and Re = 270
Jung et al. [80] Rectangular
microchannel/laminar
Al
2
O
3
(20 nm)/water h increased 15% for / = 0.018
S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125 2121
based nanouids varied signicantly with the ow velocity
and the volumetric loading of particles. For example, for
2 vol% of Cu nanoparticles in water, the Nusselt number
increased by about 60% which is higher than that predicted
by the DittusBoelter [82] equation.
Wen and Ding [77] presented the convective heat transfer
characteristics of nanouids at the tube entrance region
under laminar ow conditions. The experiments were con-
ducted for 600 < Re < 2200. Their results illustrate that
the local heat transfer coecient varies with / and Re.
For example, for / = 0.016 and at x/D % 63, the local h
was 41% higher for Re = 1050, and 47% higher for
Re = 1600, compared with the results for pure water. The
enhancement was particularly signicant in the entrance
region and decreased with axial distance. The same research
group [53] later conducted convective heat transfer experi-
ments for CNT-based nanouids in laminar ow and con-
stant wall heat ux conditions. Surprisingly, the maximum
increase in the convective heat transfer coecient was more
than 350% at Re = 800 and at 0.5 weight % of CNT.
Heris et al. [78] investigated convective heat transfer of
CuO and Al
2
O
3
/water-based nanouids under laminar
ow conditions through an annular copper tube. In their
study, the heat transfer coecient was found to increase
with increasing particle volume fraction as well as Peclet
number. Al
2
O
3
/water-based nanouids showed higher
enhancement of heat transfer coecient compared to
CuO/water-based nanouids.
Lai et al. [79] studied Al
2
O
3
(20 nm)/DIW-based nano-
uids owing through 1 mm sized stainless steel test tube
and subjected to constant wall heat ux and low Reynolds
number (Re < 270). Compared to the base uid, the Nus-
selt number of this nanouid had a maximum enhancement
of 8% for 1 vol% nanoparticle at Re = 270.
Jung et al. [80] conducted convective heat transfer exper-
iments for Al
2
O
3
/water-based nanouid in a rectangular
microchannel (50 lm 50 lm) under laminar ow condi-
tions. The convective heat transfer coecient increased
by more than 32% for 1.8 vol% of nanoparticles in base u-
ids. The Nusselt number increases with increasing Rey-
nolds number in the laminar ow regime (5 < Re < 300).
Based on the results, they proposed a new convective heat
transfer correlation for nanouids in microchannels.
The above review shows that the results reported by var-
ious groups vary widely and most of the studies lack phys-
ical explanation for their observed results. Therefore,
further research on convective heat transfer of nanouids
is needed.
9. Computational studies on heat transport of nanouids
Xue et al. [83] were the rst to use molecular dynamics
simulation (MDS) to identify the eect of liquid layering
at the liquidsolid interface on thermal transport in nano-
uids. Interestingly, their results demonstrate that layering
of the liquid atoms at the liquidsolid interface does not
have any signicant eect on the thermal properties of
nanouids. It is noted that their simulations were per-
formed for the specic model system consisting of simple
mono-atomic liquid. Thus their nding may not apply to
complex uids. In fact, there is no reported study which
conrmed their conclusion.
Bhattacharya et al. [84] developed a technique to com-
pute the eective thermal conductivity of a nanouid
using the Brownian dynamics simulation. By comparing
the results of their simulations with available experimental
data, they showed that their technique predicts the ther-
mal conductivity of nanouids to a good level of accu-
racy. No other research group has reported any work
using the same computational technique although Bhat-
tacharya et al. claimed it is less expensive than MDS.
Xuan et al. [85] proposed a Lattice Boltzmann model
for simulating ow and energy transport processes inside
nanouids. They considered the external and internal
forces acting on the suspended nanoparticles and interac-
tions among the nanoparticles and uid particles. The dis-
tributions of suspended nanoparticles inside nanouids
were also calculated. Based on the simulation results, they
inferred that the uctuation of Nusselt number of nano-
uids along the main ow direction is due to the unstable
distribution of nanoparticles. No further development is
made in exploring the use of the Lattice Boltzmann
method to explain the anomalous thermal conductivity
of nanouids.
Several preliminary numerical studies on the convective
heat transport of nanouids were conducted by a research
group led by Nguyen and co-workers [8789]. They showed
that nanouids can considerably enhance heat removal in
both tube ow [87] and radial ow between two disks
[87,88]. The hydrodynamic and thermal elds of Al
2
O
3
/
water-based nanouids in a radial laminar ow system
were numerically studied by Roy et al. [86]. Their results
showed a twofold increase in heat transfer for 10 vol% of
nanoparticles in water. They also observed that the wall
shear stress increased with an increase in particle volume
fraction. For Al
2
O
3
/water/ethylene glycol-based nano-
uids, numerical results of Ma ga et al. [87] showed that
the heat transfer coecient increases with an increase of
the particle concentration. However, the presence of such
particles has also induced drastic eects on the wall shear
stress that increases appreciably with the particle loading.
Palm et al. [88] performed numerical investigation for
the laminar forced convection ow of nanouids with tem-
perature-dependent properties. They found that Al
2
O
3
/
water-based nanouids with a volume fraction of 4% can
produce a 25% increase in the average wall heat transfer
coecient compared to water alone. Signicant dierences
were also found when using constant property nanouids
(temperature independent) versus nanouids with tempera-
ture-dependent properties. The use of temperature-depen-
dent properties resulted in larger heat transfer predictions
with corresponding decrease in wall shear stresses when
compared to predictions using constant properties nano-
uids. With an increase in wall heat ux, Palm et al. found
2122 S.M.S. Murshed et al. / Applied Thermal Engineering 28 (2008) 21092125
that the average heat transfer coecient increases whilst
the wall shear stress decreases.
Based on Khanafer et al.s [89] model and taking into
account particle dispersion, Jou and Tzeng [90] numerically
investigated heat transfer performance of nanouids inside
two dimensional rectangular enclosures. Their results dem-
onstrate that increasing volume fraction and buoyancy
parameter can cause an increase in average heat transfer
coecient.
10. Summary and future work
From the above review, it can be summarized that
nanouids exhibit enhanced thermal conductivity, which
increases with increasing volumetric loading of nanoparti-
cles. Review of experimental studies clearly showed a lack
of consistency in the reported results of various research
groups. The eects of several important factors such as
particle size and shapes, clustering of particles, tempera-
ture of the uid, and dissociation of surfactant on the
eective thermal conductivity of nanouids were not
investigated adequately. It is imperative to conduct more
investigations in order to conrm the eects of these fac-
tors on the thermal conductivity of wide range of
nanouids.
It is implicitly found that existing classical models can-
not explain the observed enhanced thermal conductivity
of nanouids. However, most of the recently developed
models only include one or two postulated mechanisms
of nanouids heat transfer. Moreover, these models were
not validated with a wide range of experimental data.
There is, therefore a need to develop more comprehensive
models, which are based on the rst principle, and can
explicitly explain the enhanced thermal conductivity of
nanouids. Particles size, particle dispersions and cluster-
ing should be taken into account in the model development
for nanouids.
Although thermal diusivity is important, very little
work has been reported on the determination of the eec-
tive thermal diusivity of nanouids. No model is available
to precisely predict the eective thermal diusivity of nano-
uids. The existing classical models are also found to be
unable to predict the viscosity of nanouids. Therefore,
analytical studies on the development of theoretical models
for the thermal diusivity and viscosity of nanouids are
highly desirable. In addition, studies on characterization
of viscosity, electrokinetic properties and convective heat
transfer of nanouids are rather scarce.
Although a signicant number of studies have been
performed on the heat transfer characteristics of nano-
uids, there has been very little agreement in the data
from dierent research groups. Hence, proper sample
preparation and repeatable and more systematic experi-
mental studies on thermophysical properties, particularly
thermal conductivity, thermal diusivity, convective heat
transfer coecients and viscosity of nanouids are
worthwhile.
Research eorts which are focused on the application of
nanouids in advanced cooling techniques for more e-
cient cooling of electronics and microelectromechanical
systems (MEMS), and investigations on spray cooling
and microchannel ow of nanouids will also be of great
interest.
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