Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 6, Issue 6, pp 577–588 | Cite as

A new thermal conductivity model for nanofluids

  • Junemoo Koo
  • Clement Kleinstreuer


In a quiescent suspension, nanoparticles move randomly and thereby carry relatively large volumes of surrounding liquid with them. This micro-scale interaction may occur between hot and cold regions, resulting in a lower local temperature gradient for a given heat flux compared with the pure liquid case. Thus, as a result of Brownian motion, the effective thermal conductivity, keff, which is composed of the particles’ conventional static part and the Brownian motion part, increases to result in a lower temperature gradient for a given heat flux. To capture these transport phenomena, a new thermal conductivity model for nanofluids has been developed, which takes the effects of particle size, particle volume fraction and temperature dependence as well as properties of base liquid and particle phase into consideration by considering surrounding liquid traveling with randomly moving nanoparticles.

The strong dependence of the effective thermal conductivity on temperature and material properties of both particle and carrier fluid was attributed to the long impact range of the interparticle potential, which influences the particle motion. In the new model, the impact of Brownian motion is more effective at higher temperatures, as also observed experimentally. Specifically, the new model was tested with simple thermal conduction cases, and demonstrated that for a given heat flux, the temperature gradient changes significantly due to a variable thermal conductivity which mainly depends on particle volume fraction, particle size, particle material and temperature. To improve the accuracy and versatility of the keffmodel, more experimental data sets are needed.


nanofluids effective thermal conductivity apparent thermal conductivity Brownian motion interparticle potential modeling and simulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringRaleighUSA

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