Prediction method of thermal conductivity of nanofluids based on radial basis function

  • Songyuan Zhang
  • Zhong Ge
  • Xingxiang Fan
  • Hui HuangEmail author
  • Xiaobo LongEmail author


Accurately predicting the thermal conductivity of nanofluids under various thermodynamic conditions is of great importance to promote the industrial application of nanofluids. Unfortunately, the accuracy and applicability of the current theoretical or empirical models cannot meet the demand, due to the inherent complex of nanofluids. In this study, an intelligent model, named radial basis function artificial neural network (RBF–ANNs), is developed to predict the thermal conductivity of nanofluids under various conditions. Five parameters including nanoparticle volume concentration, temperature, nanoparticle diameter, thermal conductivity of nanoparticle and thermal conductivity of base fluid are selected as the input variables. A total of 1444 experimental data samples are collected to optimize the structure of model. The RBF model is compared with six theoretical models and three intelligent models through statistical and graphical analyses. Also, trend analysis and sensitivity analysis are conducted to evaluate the influencing mechanism of nanoparticle concentration, temperature, nanoparticle size, thermal conductivities of base fluids and nanoparticle on the thermal conductivity of nanofluids. Meanwhile, the quality of the experimental data is evaluated by means of leverage algorithm. Results indicate the superiority of the RBF, especially when the data size is large. The overall correlation coefficient (R2), average absolute relative deviation (AARD%) and root-mean-squared error of the developed model are 0.9931, 2.715 and 0.0316, respectively. Among the five input parameters, the volume fraction of nanoparticles has the greatest impact on the thermal conductivity of nanofluid. The results of outlier detection demonstrate that the proposed RBF model and data samples are statistically valid.


Effective thermal conductivity Nanofluid Radial basis function Neural network Sensitivity analysis Outlier detection 



This work was supported by Yunnan Provincial Department of Education Science Research Fund Project (Grant No. 2018JS551, 2019J0025) and Scientific Research Foundation of Kunming Metallurgy College (Grant No. Xxrcxm201802).


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kunming Key Laboratory of Comprehensive Utilization Resources of Rare and Precious MetalsKunming Metallurgy CollegeKunmingChina
  2. 2.School of Architecture and Urban PlanningYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  3. 3.Faculty of Metallurgical and Energy EngineeringKunming University of Science and TechnologyKunmingChina

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