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ENVIRONMENT (HTE '09)

Moscow, Russia, August 20-22, 2009

EFFECT OF NANOCONVECTION DUE TO BROWNIAN MOTION ON

THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY OF NANOFLUIDS

M.Reza Azizian

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Eastern Mediterranean University

G.Magosa, T.R.N.C, Mersin10, Turkey

mreza.azizian@cc.emu.edu.tr

Hikmet . Aybar

*

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Eastern Mediterranean University

G.Magosa, T.R.N.C, Mersin10, Turkey

hikmet.aybar@emu.edu.tr

Tuba Okutucu

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Middle East Technical University

Ankara, 06530, Turkey

okutucu@metu.edu.tr

*

Author of correspondence

ABSTRACT

A nanofluid is a new class of heat transfer fluids

that contain a base fluid and nanoparticles. The use

of additives is a technique applied to enhance the

heat transfer performance of base fluids. The thermal

conductivity of the ordinary heat transfer fluids is

not adequate to meet todays cooling rate

requirements. Nanofluids have been shown to

increase the thermal conductivity and convective

heat transfer performance of the base liquids. One of

the possible mechanisms for anomalous increase in

the thermal conductivity of nanofluids is the

Brownian motions of the nanoparticles inside the

base fluids. It is shown in this study that the heat

diffusion assumption that has been used in the

macro- and micro- composite systems is not valid in

the nanofluid systems. Apart from heat diffusion the

nanoconvection diffusion that it is due to the indirect

effect of Brownian motion is responsible of

enhancement in thermal conductivity of nanofluid

systems.

1 INTRODUCTION

The thermal conductivity of ordinary heat

transfer fluids is not adequate to meet todays

industrial requirements. They are about two orders of

magnitude less efficient in conducting heat

compared to metals. Therefore the use of solid

particles as an additive suspended into the base fluid

is a technique for increasing the heat transfer rate.

Enhancment of the thermal conductivity is the main

idea for improving the heat transfer characteristics of

ordinary fluids [1].

Dispersing solid particles in liquids to improve

the physical properties of liquids is hardly new as it

has been well known for 100 years. The idea can be

traced back to J ames Clerk Maxwells theoretical

work (Maxwell, 1873) [2]. In conventional cases, the

suspended particles are of micrometer or even mm

dimension. Such large particles may cause such

severe problems as abrasion and clogging.

Therefore, fluids with suspended large particles have

little application in heat transfer enhancement [3].

Nanofluids have a potential to reduce such

problems. Nanofluids, a name conceived by Choi

[4], in Argonne National Laboratory, to describe a

fluid consisting of solid nanoparticles of size less

than 100nm suspended on it with solid volume

fractions typically less than 4%. Nanofluids

consisting of such particles have been shown to

increase the thermal conductivity and convective

heat transfer performance of the base liquids.

Because of the higher thermal conductivity of

particle materials, even at low volume

concentrations, a significant increase occurs in

thermal performance. Research results from

nanofluid research groups all around the world show

that nanofluids have thermal properties that are very

different from those of ordinary heat transfer fluids

[5].

The apparent thermal conductivity is the most

important parameter demonstrating the enhancement

potential of heat transfer in nanofluids.

Understanding of the effective thermal

conductivity of mixtures originates from continuum

models where it is assumed that diffusive heat

transfer occurs in both fluid and solid phases. The

models with this assumption give good results for

the large particles suspended in base fluid systems

[6]. Nevertheless, they could not predict the

anomalous heat transfer characteristics of nanofluids.

In addition, the important disadvantage of the

macroscopic approach based on the diffusive heat

transport is that the particle size does not affect the

thermal conductivity. On the other hand, the

experimental data for the thermal conductivity of

different types of nanofluids show that in the same

volume fraction the effective thermal conductivity is

greater for suspensions of smaller particles.

Indicating that there exist some other parameters

affecting the thermal characteristics of nanofluids.

Four possible explanations for the cause of an

anomalous increase in the thermal conductivity are

the effects of interfacial layer, Brownian motion,

nanoparticles clustering, and the nature of heat

transport in nanoparticles [10]. This study focuses on

the Brownian motion effect of the nanoparticles on

the thermal conductivity of the nanofluids.

NOMENCLATURE

d Diameter (m)

D Diffusion constant (m

2

/s)

f Drag coefficient (kg/s)

k Thermal conductivity (W/m.K)

r Radius (m)

T Temperature (K)

V Drift velocity (m/s)

v Kinematic viscosity (m

2

/s)

c

p

Specific heat (kJ/kg.K)

k

B

Boltzmann constant (J/K)

Greek Symbols

Dynamic viscosity (kg/m.s)

Density (kg/m

3

)

Thermal diffusivity (m

2

/s)

Time scale (s)

Subscripts

f Fluid

BD Brownian motion diffusion

CD Convection diffusion

HD Heat diffusion

2 BROWNIAN MOTION EFFECT

In nanofluid systems, due to the size of the

nanoparticles Brownian motion takes place which

can affect the heat transfer properties. In a

conventional approach for calculating thermal

conductivity of nanofluids such as Maxwell [7] and

Hamilton-Crosser model [8], the effect of the

particle Brownian motion is neglected due to the

large particle size. As the particle size scale

approaches to the nano-meter scale, the particle

Brownian motion and its effect on the surrounding

liquids play an important role in heat transfer. J ang

and Choi in 2004 [9] conducted a study that takes

into account the Brownian motion behavior of

nanoparticles. Their model consists of the four

modes of energy transport in nanofluids. The first

mode is collision of the base fluid molecules

showing the heat conductivity at micro-scale, the

second mode is the thermal diffusion in

nanoparticles inside the base fluids, the third one is

the collision between nanoparticles due to Brownian

motion, and the last one is the thermal interactions of

dynamic or dancing nanoparticles with the base fluid

molecules due to the Brownian motion. Therefore,

they postulate that Brownian motion of nanoparticles

in a nanofluid produces convection like effects at the

nanoscale (nanoconvection).

The last two modes are related to the Brownian

motion effect that is being considered in this work.

3 COMPARING THE TIME

SCALES

The Brownian motion of nanoparticles could

contribute to the thermal conduction enhancement

through two ways: a direct contribution due to the

motion of the nanoparticles that transport heat i.e.

solid-solid transport of heat from one to another, and

an indirect contribution due to nano-convection of

the fluid surrounding individual nanoparticles.

In order to prove the inadequacy of the heat

diffusion approach in nanofluid systems, the time

scales involved in the two Brownian motion effects,

and in heat diffusion approach are compared in this

section.

3.1 PARTICLE COLLISIONS

The first mechanism that is expected to increase

the thermal conductivity is the nanoparticle

collisions inside the base fluid that could increase the

solid-solid heat transport from one particle to another

one [10]. For calculating this effect, a single sphere

nanoparticle was considered that moves slowly

through the continuum of the base fluid. In this case

the net velocity of the particle is proportional to the

force acting on it

force fV (1)

where f is the drag coefficient and according to the

Stokes law it is equal to 6r, and V is the drift

velocity.

After simplifications and according to the

Stokes-Einstein formula particle diffusion constant

takes the form [10]

6

B

k T

D

r

(2)

where k

B

is the Boltzmann constant (1.3805 10

-23

J /K), is the fluid viscosity, and r is the particle

radius.

Equation 2 shows that the effect of particle

collisions on thermal conductivity could be

estimated by calculating the time scale of the particle

motion. Time required for a particle to move by the

distance equal to its size

BD

, is given by [10]

2 3

24

6 6

BD

B

d r

D k T

(3)

3.2 NANOCONVECTION

The energy transport due to the convection of the

nanoparticles caused by the Brownian motion is

called nanoconvection. Nanoconvection is the

second mechanism that could be responsible of the

energy transport in nanofluid systems. The rate of

heat transfer due to convection could be calculated

by convection diffusivity. Convection diffusivity is

the kinematic diffusivity (v) of the liquid, which is

also known as the momentum diffusivity [11].

f

(4)

where is the viscosity of the base liquid, and

f

is

the liquid density.

Hence, the time required for the transfer of the

heat due to the convection effect at a distance equal

to the nanoparticle size is given by [11]

2 2

4

CD

d r

(5)

3.2 HEAT DIFFUSION

Diffusion of heat occurs by the net transport of

heat from a higher temperature region to a lower

temperature one by random molecular motion. The

result of diffusion is a progressive equilibrium

temperature. Conduction is the transfer of heat by

direct contact of molecules. Heat is transferred by

conduction when adjacent atoms vibrates against

each other. Heat conduction in a stationary fluid

could be simulated as the diffusion of particles into a

fluid.

Normally one can estimate the rate of heat

diffusion in a solid or stationary fluid by the thermal

diffusivity as

p

k

c

(6)

Where k is the thermal conductivity of the medium,

and c

p

is a volumetric heat capacity.

Based on the thermal diffusivity the time

required for the heat to diffuse into a liquid by a

distance equal to the size of the particle is

2

2

4

6 6

p

HD

f

r c

d

k

(7)

4 RESULT AND DISSCUSION

Three time scales for different mechanism of

heat transfer in nanofluids are evaluated by

comparing them for a nanofluid system with a base

fluid of water and nanoparticles of a 5nm diameter.

For water at 300K, specifications are as follows: k

f

=

0.613 W/m.K, c

p

=4.179 kJ /kg.K, =0.798 x 10

-3

kg/m.s, =995.7 kg/m

3

. This comparison has shown

in Table 1.

Table 1. Comparison of the different diffusion time scales

for water base nanofluids containing 5nm nanoparticles

Diffusion time

scale

Formula

Value

(s)

Brownian motion

Diffusion

Nanoconvection

Diffusion

Heat

Diffusion

3

24

6

BD

B

r

k T

2

4

CD

r

2

4

6

p

HD

f

r c

k

3.8 10

-8

3.11 10

-11

2.83 10

-11

Keblinski et al. [10] in 2002, showed that the

movement of nanoparticles due to the Brownian

motion is too slow compared to heat diffusion which

is apparent from Table 1 as well. However, another

effect that is not considered in their study is the

nanoconvection diffusion due to indirect effect of

Brownian motion.

Comparing the time scales of the different

diffusion mechanism, it can be concluded that the

effect of nanoconvection diffusion is comparable to

that of heat diffusion. This simple comparison shows

why the effect of Brownian motion is important in

the nanofluid systems for thermal transport. The

comparison also shows that the assumption of heat

diffusion by itself is not sufficient in nanofluid

systems. In order to calculate the heat transfer

enhancement rate the effect of nanoconvection due

to the indirect effect of Brownian motion should also

considered.

REFERENCES

[1] V. Trisaksri, S. Wongwises, Critical review of

heat transfer characteristics of nanofluids,

J ournal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy

Review, 11 (2007) 512-523.

[2] W.Yu, S.U.S. Choi, The role of interfacial

layers in the enhanced thermal conductivity of

nanofluids: A renovated Maxwell model,

J ournal of Nanoparticle Research. 5 (2003)

167-171.

[3] Y. Xuan, Q. Li, Heat transfer enhancement of

nanofluids, International J ournal of Heat and

Fluid Flow 21 (2000) 58-64.

[4] S.U.S. Choi, Enhancing thermal conductivity

of fluids with nanoparticles. In: Siginer, D.A.

and Wang, H.P.eds. Developments and

Applications of Non-Newtonian Flows,

ASME, 66 (1995) 99-105.

[5] W. Yu, D.M. France, J .L. Routbort, S.U.S.

Choi, Review and Comparison of Nanofluid

Thermal Conductivity and Heat Transfer

Enhancements, Heat Transfer Engineering,

29:5 (2008) 432-460.

[6] X.Q. Wang, A.S. Mujumdar, Heat Transfer

Characteristics of Nanofluids: review,

International J ournal of Thermal Science, 46

(2007) 1-19.

[7] J .C. Maxwell, Treatise on Electricity and

Magnetism, Oxford: Clarendon Press (1873).

[8] R.L. Hamilton, O.K. Crosser, Thermal

Conductivity of Heterogeneous Two-

Component Systems, Industrial & Engineering

Chemistry Fundamentals, 1 (1962) 187-191.

[9] S.P. J ang, S.U.S. Choi, Role of Brownian

motion in the enhanced thermal conductivity of

nanofluids, Applied Physics Letters, 84:21

(2004) 4316-4318.

[10] P. Keblinski, S.R. Phillpot, S.U.S. Choi, J .A.

Eastman, Mechanisms of heat flow in

suspentions of nano-sized particles

(nanofluids), International J ournal of Heat and

Mass Transfer, 45 (2002) 855-863.

[11] R. Prasher, P. Bhattacharya, P.E. Phelan,

Brownian-Motion-Based Convective-

Conductive Model for the Effective Thermal

Conductivity of Nanofluids, ASME

Transactions, 128 (2006) 588-595.

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