Thermal Conductivity Measurements in Nanofluids via the Transient Planar Source Method 2006-01-0291
The use of nanotechnology to develop advanced heat-transfer materials is a rapidly growing topic of research at facilities around the world. One class of these materials, nanofluids, has shown promise in the laboratory to dramatically improve thermal conductivity. Quantification of the thermophysical properties of these fluids is important for optimizing the design of automotive powertrains and electrical subsystems in order to produce highly efficient and robust vehicle cooling. A new technique for measuring thermal conductivity, the Transient Planar Source (TPS) method, was used for the first time to investigate the thermal conductivity of automotive coolants and their equivalent nanofluid, as a function of temperature. The results of this study indicate that the TPS method allows for rapid and repeatable measurement of thermal conductivity with an error of between 2-4%. The technique also presents several advantages over other methods which we will briefly describe. In addition, complimentary analytical techniques are used to elucidate some of the underlying mechanisms driving the results of the thermal conductivity testing.