Novel micro-PIV study enables a greater understanding of nanoparticle suspension flows: nanofluids
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- Walsh, P.A., Egan, V.M. & Walsh, E.J. Microfluid Nanofluid (2010) 8: 837. doi:10.1007/s10404-009-0553-z
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Significant research efforts are currently focused upon investigating the potential of nanoparticles for enhancing performance in numerous diverse research fields. These range from developing energy efficient heating/cooling technologies to advanced in vivo drug delivery systems. In these applications, nanoparticles are suspended in fluid mediums, coined “nanofluids”, and empirical investigations have shown that their transport properties are far superior to those anticipated from conventional prediction models. Most research efforts to date have focused upon understanding the bulk properties of these fluids, but it is noted that accurate models cannot be developed without knowledge of how embedded particles affect local flow phenomena. This letter describes the novel application of micro-particle image velocimetry in attaining such measurements within nanofluids and demonstrates how these can lead to developing theories based on observed flow physics or to validate/negate many of the recently proposed theories attempting to elucidate the mechanisms at play in nanofluids.