Thermal conductivity of poly-alpha-olefin (PAO)-based nanofluids

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Chemical Engineering


Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering


Advisor: Kevin J. Myers


In this thesis the thermal conductivity of poly-alpha-olefin (PAO) based nanofluids is investigated. Three techniques to determine thermal conductivity-- the Laser Flash, the Transient Plane Source, and the Transient Hot Wire -- are evaluated. The influence of temperature and nanoparticle concentration and shape on thermal conductivity enhancement is evaluated. Models to predict this enhancement are classified and evaluated following a set of criteria proposed by the author. The nanofluids tested were aluminum oxide / PAO and MWCNT / PAO. It was found that the transient hot wire technique is the most accurate and precise of the three tested. It was also found that concentration enhances thermal conductivity beyond what Hamilton and Crosser's model predicted. No impact of temperature was detected. The influence of shape was weaker than predicted by Hamilton and Crosser's model. This model, modified to include the influence of clustering, was found to be satisfactory.


Nanofluids Thermal conductivity Testing, Nanofluids Density Testing

Rights Statement

Copyright 2010, author