Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 10, Issue 7, pp 1109-1114

First online:

Application of SAXS to the study of particle-size-dependent thermal conductivity in silica nanofluids

  • Gang ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Physics and Astronomy, Ohio University Email author 
  • , Wenhua YuAffiliated withEnergy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory
  • , Dileep SinghAffiliated withNuclear Engineering Division, Argonne National Laboratory
  • , David CooksonAffiliated withAustralian Synchrotron Research Program, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization
  • , Jules RoutbortAffiliated withEnergy Systems Division, Argonne National Laboratory

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Knowledge of the size and distribution of nanoparticles in solution is critical to understanding the observed enhancements in thermal conductivity and heat transfer of nanofluids. We have applied small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to the characterization of SiO2 nanoparticles (10–30 nm) uniformly dispersed in a water-based fluid using the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Size distributions for the suspended nanoparticles were derived by fitting experimental data to an established model. Thermal conductivity of the SiO2 nanofluids was also measured, and the relation between the average particle size and the thermal conductivity enhancement was established. The experimental data contradict models based on fluid interfacial layers or Brownian motion but support the concept of thermal resistance at the liquid–particle interface.


Nanofluid Thermal conductivity Size effect Interface SAXS Silica colloids Nanoparticles Dispersion