The theoretical investigation of the effective thermal conductivities of nanofluids, a new class of solid–liquid suspensions, is important in both predicting and designing nanofluids with effective thermal conductivities. We have developed a new thermal conductivity model for nanofluids that is based on the assumption that monosized spherical particles are uniformly dispersed in the liquid and are located at the vertexes of a simple cubic lattice, with each particle surrounded by a liquid layer having a thermal conductivity that differs from that of the bulk liquid. This model nanofluid with a cubical arrangement of nanoparticles gives a more practical upper limit of thermal conduction than a model nanofluid with a parallel arrangement of nanoparticles. The new model unexpectedly shows a nonlinear relationship of thermal conductivity with particle concentration, whereas the conductivity–concentration curve changes from convex upward to concave upward with increasing volume concentration. The effects of particle and layer parameters on the effective thermal conductivities are also analyzed. A comparison of predicted thermal conductivity values and experimental data shows that the predicted values are much higher than the experimental data, a finding that indicates that there is a potential to further improve the effective thermal conductivities of nanofluids with more uniformly dispersed particles.
Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.