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Enhanced Thermal Conductivity of Copper Nanofluids: The Effect of Filler Geometry

Nanofluids are colloidal dispersions that exhibit enhanced thermal conductivity at low filler loadings and thus have been proposed for heat transfer applications. Here, we systematically investigate how particle shape determines the thermal conductivity of low-cost copper nanofluids using a range of distinct filler particle shapes: nanospheres, nanocubes, short nanowires, and long nanowires. To exclude the potential effects of surface capping ligands, all the filler particles are kept with uniform surface chemistry. We find that copper nanowires enhanced the thermal conductivity up to 40% at 0.25 volume percent loadings; while the thermal conductivity was only 9.3% and 4.2% for the nanosphere- and nanocube-based nanofluids, respectively, at the same filler loading. This is consistent with percolation mechanism in which higher aspect ratio is beneficial for thermal conductivity enhancement. To overcome the surface oxidation of the copper nanomaterials and maintain the dispersion stability, we employed polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as a dispersant and ascorbic acid as an antioxidant in the nanofluid formulations. The thermal performance of the optimized fluid formulations could be sustained for multiple heating-cooling cycles while retaining stability over 1000 hours.


This paper highlights application of the C-Therm TCi Thermal Conductivity Analyzer.


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